Mexico’s market for mergers & acquisitions is expected to see a “robust” level of activity in 2024 as it avoids the slowdown normally associated with election years, José Rivero, managing partner of Mexican law firm Gonzalez Calvillo, told LatinFinance.
“2024 is going to be an atypical electoral year” as optimism about investment prospects after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador leaves office spurs companies to press ahead with M&A deals, he said in an interview.
“What I was talking about with banking colleagues is that on this occasion, the market perception is that Mexico has already hit rock bottom and everything that comes is going to be up,” whoever wins next June’s presidential election, Calvillo said. “The expectation of investors is that everything that comes will be better than the current administration.”
Private investment has been sluggish since AMLO, as the president is known, took office in late 2018. He initially spooked investors by abruptly cancelling a major airport project, and he has done little to encourage private infrastructure projects, favoring a state-led model and giving priority to investment in key sectors like energy by state-owned companies such as Pemex and CFE.
The candidates to succeed AMLO are Claudia Sheinbaum, a close ally from the leftist ruling Morena party, and businesswoman Xóchitl Gálvez.
Among the forces expected to drive M&A activity and financing deals next year is nearshoring, a trend in which countries and companies bring supply chains and trading partners closer to home, reversing the globalization of trade of recent decades, according to Rivero.
It is a development that has favored Mexico as a neighbor of the US, the world’s biggest economy.
“This is naturally generating economic activity that expands to all sectors, generating M&A and financing operations,” he said.
Rivero expects security for investments to improve under the next president, though he cautioned that some wariness remains, given past experience.
“There are still challenges that are very relevant, such as security in its literal sense but also legal security because obviously investors are still somewhat afraid,” he said.
M&A activity has been strong in sectors such as real estate, energy, construction, manufacturing, fintech and banking, though so far there have been fewer deals overall compared with 2021 and 2022.
There were 256 transactions worth a combined $11.7 billion in the first three quarters of 2023, down 24% compared to the same period last year, according to a report from Madrid-based TTR Data.
Source: TTR Data
Despite the slowdown, “there is a relevant M&A and financing activity,” Rivero said.
Among this year’s deals involving Mexican companies are:
- Grupo Financiero Inbursa, a financial services group owned by the family of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, agreed to buy the local division of consumer lender Cetelem from French bank BNP Paribas
- Mexican fintech Kapital agreed to pay $50 million to acquire local lender Banco Autofin
- Mexican cement firm Cemex acquired German construction materials company Kiesel
- Grupo Lamosa, a Mexican ceramics manufacturer, agreed to buy Spain’s Baldocer for EUR425 million ($453 million)
- Mexican real estate investment trust Fibra Mty bought industrial properties for $767 million
Gonzalez Calvillo was lead counsel in the MXN8.87 billion ($492 million) voluntary tender offer by Australian investment fund IFM Investors to acquire all the shares of its infrastructure subsidiary Aleatica trading on Mexico’s BMV exchange.
Among other deals, the law firm also represented Belgium’s Ontex Group in its sale of Mexican disposable hygiene products maker Grupo P.I. Mabe to Softys for €265 million.