East of England corporate landscape ‘buoyant’, says Ipswich law firm

Prettys senior partner Ian Waine. Picture: PRETTYS

Prettys senior partner Ian Waine. Picture: PRETTYS - Credit: Prettys

The East of England’s corporate landscape remains buoyant, despite Brexit uncertainty, an Ipswich law firm says.

Prettys said 2017 was a “positive year” for deals, and the trend appears likely to continue throughout 2018.

Senior partner Ian Waine said the firm’s corporate team had seen increasing volumes of transactional work.

Although the number of reported deal completions was lower than for the previous year, last year’s total remained well above the average yearly deal count since 2009, with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) leading the field in terms of the number of acquisitions completed, he said.

“The corporate team at Prettys has seen a noticeable rise in SME acquisitions by foreign buyers who want to get a toe-hold in the UK market and are taking advantage of the drop in Sterling to invest in quality businesses which offer localised services,” he added.

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Sectors in which transactions were completed include leisure services, high-end and specialist construction services as well as haulage and freight forwarding.

“It is likely that the East of England will continue to attract international investment. The Netherlands, US and Ireland have been particularly active in the work which we have done,” said Mr Waine.

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But he added: “There are some challenges ahead. There remains some caution about possible adverse effects of Brexit and its effect on London as a financial centre while the challenges currently being experienced in the automotive sector and continued uncertainty on the high street demonstrate consumer caution.

“Nevertheless, the overall outlook for the next year looks positive for businesses in the East of England and we have entered our new financial year with a substantial number of transactions in progress. As 2018 brings more clarity on Brexit, businesses will be able to understand and prepare for the opportunities after the UK leaves the EU.”

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