Benelux On the Mend

A freezing wind blows through the business district in Amsterdam as PEI arrives to meet a few of the country’s GPs in November. 

The short-term economic outlook for these managers continues to be pretty bleak, too. In the third quarter of this year, the Netherlands economy grew by just 0.1 percent. That’s a step in the right direction after four consecutive quarters of contraction, but it’s still 0.6 percent down on this time last year. 

House prices have dropped substantially in recent years and consumer confidence remains subdued; in the third quarter, Dutch consumption dropped by 2.3 percent year-on-year, and has now been shrinking steadily for more than two years. Things in Belgium are better, but only slightly: the country’s economy grew by 0.4 percent in the third quarter of this year, after expanding by 0.2 percent in the second. 

The bad economic weather has also filtered through to the region’s buyout market. Deal flow in the Benelux has been down in recent years. There have been 55 deals this year (as of 23 October), compared to 77 in 2012 and 102 in 2011, according to Mergermarket. Yet while deal flow remains subdued, total value has increased; the 55 deals so far this year were worth €6.5 billion, in total while the 77 deals last year had a combined value of just €3.9 billion. The 102 deals in 2011 totalled approximately €5 billion.