Recent M&A activity has slowed slightly in 2022, owing primarily to economic and geopolitical uncertainty. In the short term, deal activity is expected to remain stable. This continued investment is expected to be driven by capital availability, private equity (PE) investors, and strategic balance sheet strength.
Despite a drop in deal volume in the last quarter, deal activity remained consistent with pre-pandemic levels. Volumes in the four quarters ending in the first quarter of 2022 exceeded pre-pandemic levels by 18%. Deal values fell in the last two quarters due to fewer megadeals (deals worth at least $1 billion), as companies became warier of complications arising from government approvals
With the exception of construction machinery, North American activity drove deal volume growth over the last four quarters across all engineering and construction (E & C) subsectors. This region saw a shift toward local, strategic investor transactions, emphasising the impact of global economic headwinds.
Prospects for Engineering Transactions
Despite headwinds from slowing economic activity, rising interest rates, and cost pressure from rising material costs, increased competition for labor, and ongoing supply chain issues
, the outlook for E & C sector deal activity remains positive, driven by the continued availability of capital and bolstered by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
The recent improvement in the performance of the residential market is expected to continue, owing to historically low interest rates, a housing gap caused by underbuilding over the last decade, the millennial generation entering prime home-buying age, and housing inventory near all-time lows.
The non-residential market
is expected to expand, but the outlook varies by sector. Transportation, manufacturing, and education are expected to benefit from infrastructure spending, while construction spending on offices and hotels is expected to decline, owing to continued remote working and business travel trends post-pandemic.
“E&C deal activity is expected to remain stable due to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, private equity and corporate dry powder, realignment of end market exposure and acquisition of new technologies to support operations, despite the impact of inflation, supply chain disruption, labor shortages, and the war in Ukraine.”
- Danny Bitar, US Engineering and Construction Deals Leader in the United States