3 minute read 15 May 2019
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M&A flows as Colombian executives ride a wave of confidence

By

Andrés Gavenda

EY Latin America North Region Deputy, Transaction Advisory Services

Enjoys travel and motorcycles. Proud father of a daughter and a son. Leads transaction advisory service engagements ranging from US$2m to more than US$3b.

3 minute read 15 May 2019

Colombian executives expect the domestic M&A market to improve, with over half intending to pursue acquisitions.

Twelve months ago, M&A deal flows slowed as Colombia braced for elections. According to the latest results of the EY Global Capital Confidence Barometer, the taps have opened, as 55% of Colombian executives say they intend to pursue acquisitions in the year ahead — up from 51% in October 2018 and 33% in April 2018. Further, it would appear that Colombian executives expect deal flows to increase, with 83% indicating that they expect the domestic M&A market to improve in the months ahead.

M&A expectations

55%

of Colombian executives say they intend to pursue acquisitions in the year ahead.

Fuller pipelines and increases in deal closures solidify expectations for a more active deal market. Almost half (47%) of Colombian executives anticipate an increase in deal pipelines, and 70% are seeing an increase in the number of deal completions in the next 12 months. This represents a 36 and 59 percentage point increase, respectively, from April 2018. Deal activity is largely concentrated in retail and consumer products, infrastructure and technology.

As the deal market continues to heat up, 85% of Colombian executives expect to face stiffer competition for assets; 57% think the competition will come from private capital. However, it may not be coming from local private equity (PE) players. Local PE firms have been struggling to raise funds, giving global PE companies with lots of firepower an opportunity to penetrate the Colombian market.

Despite economists’ fears of headwinds that could impede global growth, global PE firms and domestic corporates alike are encouraged by the strength of Colombia’s macroeconomic outlook:

  • 81% of Colombian executives see global economic growth improving (versus 74% in April 2018)
  • 92% see it improving domestically (versus 63% in April 2018)

Colombia’s economy continues to sustain solid growth, elevating consumer and business confidence. At the same time, new policies from the Ministry of Finance should help alleviate rising budget pressures. As a result, three quarters or more of Colombian executives expect corporate earnings, short-term market stability, credit availability and equity valuations to improve.

Colombian executives also expect their own corporate fortunes to improve, with two-thirds (66%) anticipating revenue growth rates of more than 10% in the year ahead. To help achieve their growth objectives, half of Colombian companies are focusing on working capital and cash flow optimization as they look to strengthen financial discipline across all their back-office operations so that they can reallocate capital for more flexible decision-making. Colombian companies are also planning significant investments in technology, with the top priority for one-quarter of executives being to improve internal efficiencies, followed by improvements to financial data access and analysis.

Portfolio reviews

66%

of Colombian executives anticipating revenue growth rates of more than 10% in the year ahead.

Aided in part by technology, and spurred on by accelerated disruption, more than half (51%) of Colombian executives say they are reviewing their portfolios, either quarterly or continuously. As a result of these reviews, 55% say they have been able to differentially invest capital in a particular business unit or reshape their capital allocation across the whole portfolio; 26% have identified underperforming or assets at risk of disruption that were ripe for divestment.

Portfolio reviews

51%

of Colombian executives say they are reviewing their portfolios, either quarterly or continuously.

Looking ahead, Colombian executives remain confident in their growth objectives. They will continue to buy and sell assets, reshaping their portfolios and building resilience to thrive in an era of accelerated disruption.

Summary

The EY Global Capital Confidence Barometer (pdf) gauges corporate confidence in the economic outlook and identifies boardroom trends and practices in the way companies manage their Capital Agendas.

About this article

By

Andrés Gavenda

EY Latin America North Region Deputy, Transaction Advisory Services

Enjoys travel and motorcycles. Proud father of a daughter and a son. Leads transaction advisory service engagements ranging from US$2m to more than US$3b.