Corporate Scotland remains resilient despite uncertainty

A survey of some of Scotland’s largest and best-known businesses conducted by Scottish law firm, Burness Paull, suggests that deal activity will continue, despite political uncertainty.

The results of the survey, ‘Corporate Scotland: Deal-making trends’ demonstrates a real confidence across a wide range of sectors and a desire to get on and make things happen, rather than for activity to be dictated by the political landscape in particular.

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Among the key findings was a clear message from Scottish businesses that they would not let uncertainty define them or their activities. What it will do is encourage more diversity in deal making and funding. Where the banks once dominated, growth and acquisition finance will likely come from private equity, VC, angels or the very active growth capital providers.

Survey respondents cite that setting a date for IndyRef2 will likely lead to a pause in investment activity across some sectors, until the outcome is known. Respondents were less concerned about Brexit as many of Scotland’s businesses are already actively engaging with clients out with the European Union.

Despite all of this, investment in technology will increase for most if not all businesses over the next two years, with cloud, big data and digital payments the main areas of interest.

Peter Lawson, head of corporate at Burness Paull, said: “The resilience and positive attitude of Scotland’s business leaders, matched with robust and well designed strategies, will continue to drive deal-making in the next 12 to 24 months.

“Our survey’s results indicate that exit activity will continue to rise – with buyer interest expected to come from overseas, trade or private equity. Overseas investment into Scotland in particular, will almost certainly increase with Scottish trophy assets inviting interest from international businesses. Disposals will also feature as many of Scotland’s owner-managed businesses focus their attentions on succession.

“Leaving to one side uncontrollable political factors, Corporate Scotland will not rest on its laurels and wait for opportunities to come along. We believe it will take its well-earned confidence and, with its vision, dynamism and dogged determination, create the opportunities that will continue to generate healthy levels of deal activity.”

The full report of ‘Corporate Scotland: Deal-making trends’ can be downloaded here

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