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Carve-outs within the manufacturing sector to remain a key theme during 2020

13 May 2020

M&A deal volumes in the manufacturing sector will be subdued over the coming year amid COVID-related uncertainty, but carve-out deals could remain a significant feature of the market, according the latest report from accounting and business advisory firm BDO.

BDO’s Manufacturing Deal Review 2019, published today, reveals that 12 of the top 20 M&A transactions in the manufacturing sector last year were carve-outs as management teams came under pressure to realign and refocus portfolios by spinning off non-core operations. With COVID-19 placing even greater pressure on corporates this year, this trend could remain a key theme in 2020.

According to BDO’s analysis, nearly 700 manufacturing deals were completed in 2019 with Engineering Services coming out as the most active sector accounting for 27% of deals, followed by Building Products (14%) and Food & Drink (12%).

Around one third of these deals were cross-border transactions. In total, 133 UK businesses were acquired by international groups, with US and Canadian buyers accounting for almost half of inbound investments. Meanwhile, UK investors acquired 120 targets abroad, shoring up interests in Europe and US markets.

Buy-outs represented 1 in 5 UK manufacturing deals, many backed by private equity, which had record levels of dry powder to deploy. Private equity retains a strong interest in parts of the manufacturing sector with a particular appetite for companies displaying a technological edge, recurring revenue streams and competitive advantage.

Roger Buckley, UK Industrials Mergers & Acquisitions Partner at BDO, says:

“Manufacturing was a vibrant sector throughout 2019 with a steady level of M&A activity. However COVID-19 has put many M&A processes on hold and is expected to inflict a distinct blow to the global economy this year.

“Manufacturing continues to be a critical part of the UK economy and over the recent months manufacturers have continued to demonstrate their resilience by adapting to the challenges they are facing. Businesses we are speaking to are keen to reengage with M&A activity in due course, once the virus and its effects are behind us. In particular we expect to see corporates review their portfolios with a view to preparing non-core operations for sale.”

To view BDO’s Manufacturing Deal Review 2019, click here.


Note to editors

Accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP provides integrated advice and solutions to help businesses navigate a changing world.

Our clients are Britain’s economic engine – ambitious, entrepreneurially-spirited and high-growth businesses that fuel the economy. 

We share our clients’ ambitions and their entrepreneurial mind-set. We have the right combination of global reach, integrity and expertise to help them succeed. 


BDO LLP operates in 17 locations across the UK, employing nearly 5,500 people offering tax, audit and assurance, and a range of advisory services. BDO LLP is the UK member firm of the BDO international network.

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Frank Shepherd
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07812 463601

BDO press office:
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