Contributed By Ferrere Abogados
The M&A market continued to be very active in Uruguay in 2018, with probably more deals compared to 2017, though the latter was a year with record-breaking values in the country’s history. Well-known international players continue to fuel the market at a steady pace with what has become regular activity in the country, in many cases fostered by a rooted economic, political and social stability, alongside a reputed legal and judicial system.
Investments from traditional sources – neighbouring countries such as Argentina and Brazil – continue to be at low levels due to difficult conditions in those markets. Asian power players (in particular China and Japan) and Western European and US companies represent a large portion of the deals, together with untraditional Latin American markets such as Colombia, Mexico and Peru.
One of the key trends of recent years has been the emergence of businesses belonging to Uruguayan entrepreneurs being of appeal to foreign investors, mainly in the technology sector.
The retail, agribusiness and technology industries experienced significant M&A activity in 2017/2018.
The two biggest transactions in 2017 were in the agribusiness sector: the sale of Weyerhaeuser's forests and industries in Uruguay to BTG Pactual for USD402.5 million and the sale of the largest, state-of-the-art slaughterhouse and meatpacking plant in Uruguay – Breeders & Packers Uruguay (BPU) – to Japanese NH Foods for USD135 million.
Major transactions in 2018 included the acquisition by Coca-Cola FEMSA (the largest Coca-Cola franchise bottler in the world by sales volume) of Montevideo Refrescos S.R.L. from The Coca-Cola Company for USD250.7 million.