Mergers and acquisitions are back to pre-pandemic levels

Mergers and acquisitions are back to pre-pandemic levels

After two years of battling Covid-related headwinds, Ireland’s economy appears, so far, to be weathering this and other storms. Picture: iStock

THE number of start-ups in Ireland is rapidly decreasing, with a significant drop in wholesale, retail and fishing start-ups entering the market recorded already this year.

The year began positively for start-ups, with some growth recorded compared to 2021, but then figures across industries began to contract especially after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Wholesale and retail trade start-ups, especially those in the personal and household goods business, suffered a 51% decline in the first half of the year yet they were listed as the most successful in 2021. Meanwhile, just nine fishing start-ups were created so far compared with 20 during the same period in 2021.

There was a dramatic decline in March as start-up figures dropped to 1,780, compared to 2,715 in the same month last year. Overall, there has been a 20% year-on-year decrease in the number of company start-ups, according to Irish company information database CRIFVision-Net.

Dublin recorded the highest number of start-ups in Ireland in H1. This is unsurprising given the number of supports based in the capital such as popular co-working space Dogpatch Labs which supports the early-stage business accelerator NDRC. Yet, the county still suffered a 25% decline of start-ups compared to last year, bringing the total number to 4,612.

Cork documented the second-highest number of start-ups, with 1,084, but also recorded a drop of 20% compared to last year. Start-up activity has risen in some rural areas like Leitrim, which recorded a 21% increase.

One issue that is creating obstacles for start-ups, especially tech ones, is regulation. Stringent compliance practices for EU start-ups is one of the biggest threats to early-stage businesses, according to entrepreneurs that took part in a survey by payment software provider Stripe.

More than 30% of EU start-ups that participated in the survey said they considered starting their business elsewhere due to the scale of the regulatory and compliance burden in Europe. The survey claimed that the level of regulation for start-ups in Europe has caused “unnecessary friction” for EU-based entrepreneurs.

Mergers and acquisitions Elsewhere, business activity has dwindled in some other areas so far this year, but is back to pre-pandemic levels.

“After two years of battling Covid-related headwinds, Ireland’s economy appears, so far, to be weathering this and other storms,” said Stephen Keogh, head of mergers and acquisitions at William Fry.

A total of 122 deals were recorded within the Irish merger and acquisitions market in the first six months, a drop of 14% compared to the same period in 2021 which was considered an outlier year.

The total deal value came to €6.4bn, a decrease of 66% from the first half of 2021, according to the mid-year William Fry Mergers & Acquisitions Review 2022.

“While there has inevitably been a cooling in the market compared to an extremely active 2021, mergers and acquisitions has returned to pre-pandemic levels of activity and, in the first half of the year at least, appetite for deals remained undiminished,” said Mr Keogh.

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