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1 Deal or no deal

M&A, Privatisation, IPOs

After an inconsistent performance in 2021 and 2022, the M&A market in Southeast Europe remained relatively stable in 2023, in line with the subdued global mergers-and-acquisitions landscape, where deal values and volume continued to lag behind their post-pandemic highs. In Romania, the largest market in the region, the M&A witnessed 132 transactions in the first half of 2023, with an estimated total value of $3.7 billion, according to data compiled by Ernst &Young. While the number of transactions increased slightly compared to the first half of 2022, there was a significant 11% drop in total value compared to the same period last year when it reached $4.2 billion.

2 Rough seas

Economic outlook

Following the modest growth experienced by Southeast European economies in 2022, driven primarily by robust domestic demand and a successful tourist season, the collective GDP growth of the region is expected to moderate to about 2% in 2023, according to analysts. The region's near-term growth prospects may be hindered by decreased economic activity in the European Union, its primary trading partner and a source of remittances.

3 The Watts and the Whys

Power market

As Southeast Europe grapples with high electricity prices, governments in the region are taking measures to alleviate the impact on businesses and households. The Croatian government unveiled a 1.7 billion euro package aimed at assisting households and bolstering the economy in light of surging electricity prices, while the Bulgarian government announced plans to reallocate 350 million euro from six EU operational programmes to subsidize energy costs for both businesses and end-users. Elsewhere in the region, Slovenia's Chamber of Commerce has urged its government to consider implementing an electricity price cap specifically for large companies to curb the decline in industrial output. In Romania, the selling price of electricity is capped at 450 lei ($91.5/92 euro) per MWh until March 31, 2025.

4 SeeViews


Reading between the lines of the official statistics and companies' balance sheets, the industry officials and market experts offer their insights on the main trends shaping markets in Southeast Europe.

5 One Belt, One Road

Chinese investments in SEE

In 2013 Chinese president Xi Jinping unveiled the One Belt and One Road Initiative - a development strategy under which China plans to invest hundreds of billions of euro in other countries in Asia and in Europe in a bid to strengthen its role in global affairs. The initiative, which later became populat as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) focuses on projects in transport infrastructure, energy, iron and steel. Countries in SEE fall within the strategy's scope, with Serbia attracting the most generous share of Chinese investments.

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