This year’s Swiss M&A Awards go to Geberit, Helvetia and Novartis. Their noteworthy transactions have made these Swiss companies prime examples of both the active 2014 M&A year as well as the professional use of M&A as a means of achieving corporate objectives.
With an impressive number of large, strategically-driven deals, 2014 was an extremely active M&A year both in Switzerland and globally. The Swiss M&A Awards’ jury of professionals – made up of Monika Ribar, Hubert Achermann, Thomas Held, Dirk Schütz and Patrik Kerler – distinguished three Swiss companies in three categories for transactions they conducted in 2014 based on carefully-chosen selection criteria:
Geberit was presented with the award for “Most impressive M&A transaction” for its acquisition of Sanitec, a Finnish manufacturer of sanitary technology. This notable public takeover convinced the jury which considered it a bold, strategically promising acquisition of Europe’s leading provider of bathroom ceramics (Sanitec) by Europe’s leading sanitary technology company (Geberit). Geberit’s USD 1.6 billion acquisition has allowed it to add a bathroom ceramics segment to the group’s product portfolio while also repositioning itself as Europe’s new leader on the bathroom fittings market. This union firmly establishes a unique, integrated company in the European bathroom fittings industry and at the same time increases Geberit’s access to consumers.
Helvetia has won the award for “Best national M&A transaction” for its takeover of the Nationale Suisse insurance company, both of which with international operations. Helvetia’s purchase of Nationale Suisse, a transaction worth USD 1.6 billion, has elevated it to a leading position among Swiss insurance companies while also allowing it to pool strengths and significantly boost the group’s relevance on the European market. The acquisition opens the doors to additional growth opportunities, particularly on the international market, as well as huge synergy potential.
Last year saw Novartis conduct ten transactions (that met the selection criteria of the KPMG report “Clarity on M&A” which was published in early 2015) with a total value of around USD 29 billion. The company’s systematic implementation of its corporate strategy and objectives through the use of efficient, professional M&A activities prompted the jury to name Novartis the year’s “Most active deal maker”. Transactions that deserve special mention include the divestiture of its Animal Health Division to Eli Lilly for USD 5.4 billion, the sale of its vaccines business to GlaxoSmithKline Plc. (GSK) for USD 7.1 billion and the company’s sharper focus on pharmaceuticals with its acquisition of GSK’s oncology division for USD 16 billion.
“While uncertainties aroused by the SNB’s decision put a brief damper on M&A activities in Switzerland, the M&A wave is steadfastly heading toward new record highs on the global stage. Under the current conditions, this trend will intensify even further in 2015 and 2016,” asserts Patrik Kerler, Head of M&A at KPMG Switzerland.
|Year||Most impressive M&A transaction||Most active deal maker||Best national M&A transaction|
|2012||Zurich Insurance Group||ABB / Nestlé||Bell|
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