Increase in mergers


Irish companies spent £5.6 billion (€7.1 billion) on mergers and acquisitions in 1998, up from £2.8 billion in the previous year. The merger of Irish Life and Irish Permanent accounted for the bulk of the total spend at £2.8 billion.

The annual CFM Capital acquisitions survey shows that Irish companies continue to dominate the acquisition process accounting for 61 per cent of all transactions in Ireland while British firms continue to be the largest foreign buyers of Irish companies. European and US companies are also becoming more active in making acquisitions, with this trend expected to continue as a knock-on effect of European Monetary Union.

CFM Capital managing director, Mr David Chapman, said a number of factors have been driving the upsurge in corporate activity.

"These include a buoyant economic situation, with strong corporate profitability and low interest rates. The relatively benevolent tax regime has helped, as has institutional liquidity. Finally, we are seeing a new breed of Irish entrepreneur who is more willing to acquire or be acquired than in the past," he said.