Belgian entrepreneurs most positive about M&A-market

Last modified: 04 December 2023 16:47
63 percent of Belgian entrepreneurs think this is a good time to acquire another company.

From the fast-growing start-up ecosystem in Copenhagen to the industrial center of Antwerp to the heart of the Hamburg metropolitan region: small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the European business landscape are buzzing with ambition. The ability to adapt to sudden social and economic changes is one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs in the SME segment.

This writes Marktlink in their latest M&A trend report about the European SMA landscape for mergers and acquisitions. The research conducted by Marktlink shows an interesting trend among European SME entrepreneurs. In the past year, a significant portion of them considered the possibility of selling their business.

31 percent of the more than 1,000 SME entrepreneurs surveyed see this as an opportune time to sell their company. Despite the negative effects of social developments such as the lasting consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical tension due to the conflict in Ukraine, inflation, rising interest rates and concerns about energy distribution, interest in business takeovers remains high. The resilient European SMEs shows that it can respond quickly to external pressure, which only makes its position as a driving force of the European economy clearer.

Belgium companies go international

The M&A market in Belgium is experiencing a strong increase in cross-border transactions, as Belgian SMEs are increasingly focusing on international growth. This not only strengthens their competitive position, but also contributes to the global dimension of the European SME market.

According to the tenth edition of the Vlerick M&A Monitor, the Belgian market remains surprisingly stable, partly as a result of smaller and strategic transactions. The average transaction price in segments of all sizes remains at a record high.

According to Filip Mariën, Managing Partner for Marktlink Belgium, there is a need for consolidation. “SME leaders are faced with an increasing number of challenges. We notice that more and more Belgian SMEs are changing course more quickly and are considering the possibility of joining forces due to all these challenges.”

The sentiment of SME entrepreneurs when it comes to purchasing or selling their company

Marktlink asked 1,066 SME entrepreneurs in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom and Scandinavia questions about their local M&A markets. They asked them about the current market and their expectations for the future.

Of all their European counterparts, Belgian entrepreneurs are the most positive about the acquisition market. In total, a surprising 63 percent of Belgian entrepreneurs surveyed believe that now is the right time to buy a business; which contrasts sharply with the 34 percent of respondents in the Netherlands. However, only 38 percent of Belgian entrepreneurs indicate that now is the right time to sell their company.

Filip Mariën, Managing Partner Marktlink Belgium: “For companies and entrepreneurs looking for opportunities, there are many acquisition targets and, if necessary, capital available. This, in combination with an increased awareness among SME owners that they no longer have to bear everything themselves, explains the more positive view of business takeovers in our country.”

The research was conducted by Panelwizard on behalf of Marktlink among 1,066 European directors and managers of SME companies with ten to 200 employees, of which 299 Dutch, 104 Belgians, 110 Danes and Swedes, 329 Germans and 224 British.

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