Experts record growing appetite for mergers, acquisitions

Experts believe the growing appetite for acquisitions and mergers might be driven by the search for solid partners to finance expansion. Photo | File

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Experts say there is growing interest among international companies and investors to acquire properties in Uganda to establish or expand their businesses

There is increasing appetite for mergers and acquisition of properties in Uganda due to in part expansion of the economy, market and an increase in business prospects, a merger and acquisition expert has said. 
In a presentation to investors in Kampala early this week, Mr Edward Burbidge, the I&M Burdbige Capital chief executive officer, said there is growing interest among international companies and investors to acquire properties in Uganda to establish or expand their businesses.
“The Ugandan market is strong and is growing. We used to sell two properties a year but it has now increased to three or four indicating that investors are increasingly buying,” he said, noting that the appetite might be driven by the search for solid partners among commercial and family businesses. 
Such business, he said, are seeking partners to whom they can sell or provide capital to diversify their assets. 
I&M Burbidge Capital specialises in advising businesses significant capital mobilisation through initial public offerings, private equity, mergers and acquisition and debt transactions. 
The firm focuses on mid and large sized companies with typical transaction sizes of between $2m and $250m.
Speaking at same event, Mr Sam Ntulume, the I&M Bank executive director, said financial market have been disrupted due to increase in the cost borrowing and depreciation of the shilling, which further weakened, closing yesterday at Shs3,868.87. 
“All sectors of the economy have been negatively impacted. This has made the cost of doing business become expensive as well as the prices of goods and services going up,” he said.
I&M has significant presence in banking, insurance, manufacturing and real estate across East Africa. 
Mr Burdige said the company has been operating in Uganda since 2012 and has actively participated in a number of acquisitions, mergers and debt arrangements, among which include, acquisition of Orient Bank by I&M, business valuation for Umeme, sale of Crane Bank Rwanda, Flametree initial public offering on the Nairobi Stock Exchange and many others. 
He also noted that mergers and acquisitions involve a number of processes, which might take close to 12 months before they are finalised while debt arrangements takes between four and six months. 
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