M&A in Greece came to 3.3 bln euros last year, says PwC report

By Vangelis Mandravelis

The improvement in the Greek economy is highlighted by the revival of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the local business sector: According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), there were 15 M&A transactions in Greece last year, with a total value of 3.3 billion euros.

Small as the number of deals may be, the increase in the value of transactions is changing the mood in the Greek market, PwC argued in a report published on Wednesday. Notably, this is the first time that the multinational professional services company has published such a report since 2009.

The reported level of M&A for 2013 does not include the transactions for bank recapitalizations. It also does not account for the issue of tradable bonds, totaling 2.85 billion euros, by six Greek companies last year. PwC reported that the recapitalization of the banking sector mobilized funds of 28.9 billion euros, of which 25.5 billion came from bank bailout fund HFSF and the remaining 3.4 billion from old shareholders of the banks.

According to local PwC executive director Costas Mitropoulos, although bank recaps are included in foreign analysts’ M&A accounts, PwC in Greece decided that they should not be incorporated in its list as they constitute an obligation and not a business choice. The PwC list further includes the acquisition of the so-called “healthy” activities of Cypriot banks in Greece by Piraeus Bank last year, amounting to 524 million euros, and the minority stake of Portugal’s BCP in Piraeus that came to 400 million euros. These two transactions are different, PwC claims, as they were the outcome of an agreement.

The biggest deal last year was the acquisition of the Ethniki Pangaia property investment company by Dutch firm Invel, which reached 653 million euros. It beat the price Emma Delta paid for 33 percent of the OPAP gaming company by just 1 million.

PwC explained that the restructuring of the country’s banking sector and the government’s privatizations were the driving force for M&As last year, and that this is set to continue up to 2015.