May we live in interesting times – and it certainly is that, not least for Midlands Industrial businesses, who are having to cope with the normal raft of day-to-day commercial issues, overlaid by a large dose of uncertainty brought about by Brexit
How are they coping? Surprisingly well and many are doing what they do best – simply getting on with it.
As with most things, there are winners and losers. Some are struggling to pass on price rises as a result of the higher costs of imports in the face of weakening consumer demand, while others are benefitting through a more buoyant export market.
Certain parts of the industrial community are actually seeing a positive impact from Brexit. A number of automotive supply chain businesses have seen an uptick in enquiries as the major car manufacturers with facilities in the UK, fearful of levies being imposed in the future on imported parts, look to source locally.
Over recent years the Midlands has performed well against many of its peers and I remain broadly optimistic about the regions prospects.
If a yardstick on general sentiment is the appetite of private equity, then there are positive signs here too. There remains a desire to invest in good quality industrial assets by private equity firms as witnessed by the recent acquisition by Midlands-based LDC of leading water pump and pressure solutions business Stuart Turner.
Whilst we have witnessed occasions of European corporates citing Brexit as a reason for not acquiring at the moment in the UK, we continue to see overseas interest for high quality UK and Midlands based manufacturing businesses.
UK corporates are also active in the search for leading edge manufacturing business as evidenced by Halma’s acquisition of designer and manufacturer of pipeline inspection camera systems, Mini-Cam.