4 minute read 16 Apr 2018
old and new

How portfolio shifts will dictate power and utilities’ dealmaking

4 minute read 16 Apr 2018

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  • Power and Utilities - EY Global Capital Confidence Barometer - 18th edition (pdf)

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Our latest mergers and acquisitions report reveals a confident global power and utilities (P&U) sector.

Dealmaking looks set to continue, underpinned by a buoyant economic outlook on the back of the stronger-than-expected economic turnaround in Europe and positive growth in the US and China. As new technologies begin to impact traditional operating models, divestitures will be a critical component for power and utilities companies seeking to realign their portfolios for this new operating environment.

Macroeconomic environment and M&A outlook

P&U respondents expect improving economic conditions to drive deal activity. Executives anticipate an increase in mergers and acquisitions activity, and, as competition for P&U assets heats up, utilities will need to be prepared to act fast and with strategic discipline. Deal scarcity, competition for high-quality assets and increasing inflation are seen as the greatest risks to dealmaking.

Optimistic economy


see the sector economy improving

M&A uptick


expect an increase in M&A activity in the next 12 months.

  • P&U companies to pursue M&A

    P&U companies expect to actively pursue M&A — this trend is set to continue through the year. Dealmaking intentions were clear in the first quarter of 2018, as evidenced in our Power Transactions and Trends report— deal value hit an all-time quarterly high of US$97b.

    do you expect your company
  • Competition set to increase

    Competition, particularly from financial sponsors, is expected to increase. This will intensify competition for high-quality assets in the deal market, putting upward pressure on valuations and increasing bid-ask spread.

    do you expect to see increasing
    have you either failed
    what do you see as the biggest

Growth and portfolio strategy

Portfolio transformation is at the top of the boardroom agenda. P&U companies are keen to divest underperforming assets and invest in developing economies and emerging technology as sector disruption takes hold.

Portfolio transformation


say that pportfolio transformation – buying and selling assets – is top of the boardroom agenda



expect shareholder activism to focus on divesting assets and buybacks

External environment

P&U executives continue to be concerned about political uncertainty and say it is the key risk to growth, while rising inflation is cited as the biggest threat to investment plans. But these risks are moderated by increased infrastructure spending and — surprisingly — most executives do not expect US tax reform to impact deal activity.




believe rising inflation is the biggest risk to investment plans



say increased infrastructure spending will have a positive impact on growth

Global Capital Confidence Barometer 

Explore our latest M&A report.

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Dealmaking looks set to continue, underpinned by a buoyant economic outlook for the P&U sector. As technologies impact traditional operating models, divestitures will be critical for P&U companies seeking to modernize their portfolios, according to our latest M&A report.