In the first 10 months of 2019, eight of the 10 largest M&A deals in Portugal were conducted by foreign bidders, seven of these by US-based bidders, according to a report by Mergermarket, a media company providing M&A data and analysis.
US companies also announced 14 greenfield FDI projects in Portugal in the first nine months of 2019, matching the record number in 2018, according to greenfield investment monitor fDi Markets.
The most active sectors for US companies greenfield investment were software and IT services, as well as the communication sector, which aligns with the thriving Portuguese tech start-up scene. Beneficial initiatives such as the Startup Visa, which affords non-Schengen Area startup founders visa opportunities, signal the government’s commitment to supporting technology.
Despite foreign investor dealmaking in Portugal increasing in the first 10 months of 2019, it has experienced the lowest year-to-date M&A value since 2013. This trend reflects a general deceleration in other European countries with Brexit and increasing international trade tensions influencing the general confidence to conduct deals.
Amid greater Chinese and European government controls to curtail dealmaking, however, Chinese bidders have not made any M&A deals in 2019, compared with Chinese investor involvement in three deals in 2018, according to Mergermarket. Nonetheless, 2019 has witnessed an uptick in Chinese greenfield investment by two projects, according to fDi Markets data.
The first nine months of 2019 show the continued confidence of foreign investors in Portugal, with 82 FDI greenfield projects announced, an increase of 15.49% compared with the corresponding period in 2018, according to fDi Markets. The country is on track for another record year of greenfield investment, following a record 99 projects announced in 2018.
“The Portuguese pipeline of ongoing and forecast transactions are much better now than a year ago. There is, of course, some uncertainty at the European level, but we feel that Portugal has managed to demonstrate stability, attracting foreign investors and providing them with the necessary confidence,” said Mariana Norton dos Reis, partner of Cuatrecasas, a law firm focusing on business law.