UK businesses make highest number of overseas investments since 2007

London leads with Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and the Humber also showing strong growth

The number of overseas investments made by UK businesses was up 13% in 2014 compared to the previous year, according to latest figures released by Experian.

The value of transactions reached its highest level since 2007, more than doubling from £33.9bn in 2013 to £69.5bn in 2014.

The number of outbound deals made by UK companies went from 502 to 566, with the number of mid-market outbound overseas deals (£10m to £100m) increasing from 86 in 2013 to 123 last year. It was only small deals (500,000 to £10m) that decreased, dropping from 79 to 66.

Rather unsurprisingly, Greater London had the highest percentage of overseas investment with 41.8% of the country’s deals totalling £181bn, up 52.3% on 2013’s £119bn.

However the figures also revealed strong growth in other UK regions with Northern Ireland returning the biggest year-on-year growth, and strong increases in Yorkshire & the Humber and the South West.

Among the busiest sectors were professional, scientific, and technical services with 174 deals worth £13.3bn and information and communication with 142 deals at £34.6bn, but manufacturing with 179 outbound international deals totaling £23bn came out on top.

Merger and acquisitions (M&A) and equity capital market transactions were also up 2% from 5,455 to 5,557 deals last year, with the overall value of deals rising 5.6% to £289bn from £273.7bn.

The figures are said to reflect increasing confidence among UK businesses as the country begins to recover from a lengthy recession.

Business development manager at Experian UK & Ireland, Wendy Driver, said: “A more positive year for the economy as a whole was reflected by strong M&A activity in the UK, particularly with a significant increase in the number of high-value deals in the pharmaceuticals and telecom sectors.

“The improving economy and rising M&A activity is good news, but businesses considering a purchase or sale should still thoroughly research the companies they are dealing with. Looking into the background of the management team at a target company, any corporate risk, and getting a snapshot of the international markets they operate in can help you to make an informed decision on a potential acquisition.”

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