Global chemicals deals insights: Year-end 2018

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Executive summary

Two thousand and eighteen was a solid year for Global Chemicals M&A, with close to $100 billion in deal value, surpassing the previous year’s value of $64 billion. While global trade disputes may have hampered deal activity in the latter part of the year; lower corporate tax rates and access to capital led to fairly steady volumes and robust valuations. Investments in and valuations of the Specialty Chemicals category continued to be significant amid decreasing supply while diversified and commodity chemical valuations remained flat to declining given balanced demand and availability.

Key trends/highlights

  • Deal value in 2018 grew by 56% over the previous year to $99.6 billion. However, Q4 2018 deal value was $10.7 billion, a decline from Q3 2018 ($30 billion) which had four deals over $3 billion during the quarter.
  • In volume terms, the year witnessed a slight decline of 8% over 2017 to 855 deals. Likewise, the Q4 2018 volume also declined by 11% to 200 deals vis-à-vis the previous quarter.
  • Average deal size in 2018 was $212.9 million, 59% more than the prior year. However, the average deal size for Q4 2018 significantly declined to $92.1 million.

“Despite a number of continued macro-economic factors such as trade tariffs, oil prices, and Brexit, we expect 2019 Chemicals M&A activity to remain upbeat. Similar to other sectors, we anticipate a decoupling of M&A from the broader economy given the record access to capital for both private equity and corporate buyers along with the continued focus on portfolio coherence.”

Craig Kocak, US Chemicals Deals Leader

Contact us

Kazi Islam

Chemicals Leader, PwC US

Tel: +1 (267) 330 1920

Craig Kocak

Chemicals Deals Leader, PwC US

Tel: +1 (267) 330 2777

Chris Cardinal

Chemical Deals Strategy Leader, PwC US

Tel: + 1 (267) 330 1489

Seamus Jiang

Deals Managing Director
China Inbound Deals Leader, PwC US

Tel: +1 (267) 330 1862

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