The accelerating rate of automation – the conversion of a process, procedure or equipment from human to automatic control – is transforming virtually every industry.
Although around two-thirds of the automation industry is directly related to industrial markets, automation concepts are now rapidly taking hold in consumer industries too amid rapid technological advances, and especially as software becomes a key aspect of data generation and analysis.
Automation involves a deep reorganisation of the work process, and is typically analysed by products such as sensors, drives, and SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems, and by services such as design, installation, integration, maintenance, and management.
Latest data1 shows the global market is worth €453bn with the largest markets China, the US and Germany respectively.
The market continued to grow strongly last year with 2016 revenues in the German automation sector alone rising to €50.2bn, an increase of 1.8% on the previous year1.
With around a quarter of the world’s robots in China, the Asia-Pacific region is seeing particularly strong growth with the industrial robotics market forecast to grow at a CAGR of 8.7% between 2016 and 20202.
Against this backdrop of huge change we have seen vibrant M&A activity in recent years amid increasing recognition of the practical everyday benefi ts that automation can bring across a range of sectors. The food and beverage, packaging, automotive, and security industries are just some of the many sectors which have seen notable M&A in recent times. The majority of deals over the past year have involved strategic buyers with companies providing products and solutions related to automation, connectivity and sensing generating the most interest.
We expect to see continued strong transaction activity in the future, in particular as product businesses increasingly acquire solutions companies.
A good example of this trend was the sale of MacDonald Humfrey, the UK’s largest independent automation, control and IT solutions systems integrator, to L-3 Communications, a US provider of communications and electronic systems products used on military and commercial platforms. Clearwater International advised MacDonald Humfrey on the deal.
2 Business Wire