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Accenture Says European Crisis Spurs Acquisition Interest

Half of the bigger companies in the eurozone area are seeking acquisitions in the region as the sovereign debt crisis has boosted opportunities, according to a survey by Accenture Plc (ACN), the world’s second-largest technology consulting company.

“The eurozone remains a good long-term bet and a significant number of high performing companies see opportunities for organic and inorganic growth,” Mark Spelman, managing director of strategy at Accenture, said today in a statement.

Within the eurozone, 58 percent of German respondents said they were planning acquisitions in the region, compared to 57 percent of Spanish companies and 36 percent of French firms. Dublin, Ireland-based Accenture said it surveyed 450 executives globally, with 96 percent of the participating companies having revenues of at least $1 billion.

European consumer confidence declined to the lowest in 3 1/2 years last month as the lingering debt crisis and a deteriorating economic outlook undermined sentiment. An index of household confidence in the 17-nation euro area dropped to minus 26.9 from minus 25.7 in October, the European Commission in Brussels said in an initial estimate Nov. 22. That’s the lowest since May 2009.

Among non-euro zone companies, Chinese are the most interested in making acquisitions in the region, Accenture said. Seventy-one percent of Chinese respondents are planning to buy companies in the region, compared to 30 percent of U.K. companies and 20 percent of U.S. firms, the consultancy said.

Bank financing may be a hurdle for some of the acquisitions plans. Forty-five percent of the surveyed companies in the eurozone said their primary bank’s ability to lend has been hampered, according to Accenture.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ola Kinnander in Stockholm at okinnander@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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