The Mandarin Oriental Ritz Madrid
hotel was the attractive setting on Wednesday, June 8 for the holding of the Mergermarket M&A Forum – Spain 2022
, an event that once again has proved to be the best opportunity for investors and advisors to connect, as well as to connect with other professionals and experts in M&A and business strategies. In the context of a market that is increasingly more active and open to M&A despite the geopolitical uncertainties and macroeconomic perspectives, business professionals from the country’s most dynamic sectors (infrastructure, technology, legal, oil and gas…) came together to give their opinions on the future perspectives for M&A transactions.
Ignacio Domínguez-Adarme (head of Santander CIB Continental
) and José Luis Rodríguez
(partner at Cuatrecasas) started the sessions by highlighting the strength of a practice that, even during the pandemic, has continued at a positive pace, with lots of activity and interest from investors. Pablo de Ramón-Laca, director general of the treasury and financial policy, had a similar opinion and, after commenting on the current geopolitical shock and its effects, he highlighted the main pillars that can help mitigate the uncertainty: stable employment and labor market, the high level of investment and the efforts of fiscal restraint.
The first debate of the day focused on the Spanish M&A market and its main players: private equity funds and large corporations, the necessary adaptation to the transformational changes accelerated by the pandemic, future perspectives, the new regulations on foreign investment and the role of the competition authorities. These are some of the topics that were discussed by Jesús Quintanal (co-head of corporate finance Europe at Santander CIB), Asís Echániz (head of Spain at EQT Partners
), Meinrad Spenger (CEO, MasMovil
) and Javier Villasante
(corporate and M&A partner at Cuatrecasas). Javier Villasante highlighted the role of the large funds that, in a context of growing uncertainty, have continued to keep the M&A market active.
After, Alvaro Ortega (country manager for Iberia at Datasite
), Christian Bajac (M&A manager at Wallbox
) and Esperanza Cuenca (head of strategy and outreach at Multiverse Computing
) gave their opinions about the sectors and the technologies dominating the market; the mid-term trends on the horizon; the international component of technology transactions; and the strength in Spain, including internationally, of a market segment that is increasingly more attractive to foreign investors.
Private equity funds were the central focus of a debate that was of huge interest for M&A operators. During the session, the participants covered many current topics, including the impact of the current economic situation (e.g., rates increases, decrease in variable income, inflation) on M&A transactions in general and on private equity transactions in particular. Speaking were Alfonso Moreno (managing director - head M&A Spain & Portugal at Santander CIB), Allan Stierle (associate director, mergers & acquisitions, transactional risks, FINEX Global
, WTW), Borja Oyarzábal (president and founding partner of Tresmares
), Carlos Robles (managing director at Carlyle
), José Arellano (managing director of TowerBrook
) and Víctor Xercavins
(corporate and M&A partner at Cuatrecasas). Víctor Xercavins started a dialog on the economic uncertainty, as well as on maintaining investor appetite. Other topics discussed were the future opportunities and forecasts, the denominator effect, the secondary buy-outs and the contingent risk insurance in private equity transactions.
ESG policies were also covered at the forum: sustainability and its increasing influence on M&A transactions, the attention of the large funds to the responsibilities and criteria that companies are starting to consider obligatory, long-term benefits, investment opportunities linked to ESG factors, sustainable strategies, regulations and development objectives. Alejandra Moore Mayorga (managing director at Grupo Albión
), Isabela Pérez (VP legal strategy and corporate functions, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners) and Lucas Arangüena (global head green finance at Grupo Santander/global head ESG at Santander CIB) spoke on these matters.
To end the forum, there was a round table debate on M&A in the energy sector that revealed the continued impact of gas and oil in an economy that seeks to move towards renewable energy. The invasion of the Ukraine, the increased volatility, Spain’s prominent role, the upward trend of prices, the market tensions, price regulation, the selective investment seeking decarbonization, green or renewable energy projects, capital movements in the sector and power purchase agreements were some of the topics discussed by Álvaro Pérez de Lema (CEO, Saeta Yield
), Óscar Pérez (partner at Q-Energy
), Raquel Pérez (M&A head at EDPR
), Rubén Rodríguez (managing director M&A at Santander CIB) and Luis Pérez de Ayala
(public law partner at Cuatrecasas). Luis Pérez de Ayala concluded that: “The debate has shown that, despite the current uncertainties, the Spanish energy sector continues to be of interest to investors and high levels of activity are expected in the coming months.”