Few mergers in '17 but may rise amidst pick up in economy

Mergers in Greece flat in 2017 but may rise

The number of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in Greece last year was low but this could improve due to the country's expected economic recovery in coming years, PwC said on Wednesday.

The M&A report comes as the European Commission predicts that Greece's recovery will strengthen as long as structural reforms continue, but tough financing conditions will keep a lid on investments.

PwC described 2017 for Greece as being "one more year of low investment activity mainly driven by the disposal of non-core assets by the systemic banks."

Greek companies attracted in total 5.5 billion euros in 2017 , of which 1.9 billion euros were raised through traded corporate bonds, 1.6 billion euros accounted for regular M&As, 250 million euros for share capital increases covered by strategic investors and 1.7 billion euros through privatisation proceeds. The total amount of M&A activity was largely unchanged from the previous year.

"The very few international deals give the tone that Greek assets are still not that attractive despite the asset value collapse of the last 7 years," said PwC. (see full report here)

"The M&A market in Greece remained very shallow, but as we are entering a period of growth, domestic transactions led by sectoral consolidators may be on the go," it added.

Forecasts released by the European Commission on Wednesday point to a 2017 growth rate of 1.7% for Greece. This expansion rate is seen hitting 2.5% for both 2018 and 2019, outperforming slightly growth in the EU for the same period.

"Sustained improvement in the labour market and in consumer sentiment is set to fuel private consumption growth. The business climate in Greece is also expected to improve further, although financing conditions may ease only gradually, leading to moderate investment growth," said the European Commission. (see full report here)