LONGSTANDING expertise in three sectors performing strongly despite the recession is helping a corporate finance team match last year's record achievements.
Paul Mankin, corporate finance director at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Newcastle, says its strength in the oil and gas, pharmaceuticals and renewables sectors,and a healthy balance between advising sellers and buyers is contributing to its success.
The eight-strong Newcastle team achieved record fees from deals in the year to June 2008 and is on track to match that this year.
In the past three years Mr Mankin’s team has been the best regional performer in PwC’s UK operation, generating about 10% of its national corporate finance revenues, despite making up less than 5% of the firm’s headcount.
He said: “We are historically strong in these three sectors, which are still performing well despite the recession, and we have completed some major deals this year.”
In oil and gas, PwC Newcastle advised on the sale of Gateshead company Anson to US group NOV.
The team also advised on a deal involving international drug company Pfizer and a drug business near Rome in Italy.
Mr Mankin has become the corporate finance adviser of choice for Pfizer after it first used him when selling its Morpeth factory. Since then it has requested his lead on several other projects in the US, Ireland, Italy and Germany.
Mr Mankin, who set up PwC’s Newcastle corporate finance team in 1988, triumphed as the inaugural Dealmaker of the Year in the nebusiness Deal Awards last year.
He said: “The market is not as busy as it was, but we have always had a good balance between buy-side work and sell-side work. The emphasis for the time being has shifted to buy-side in the main for us. We are currently advising North East corporate clients with cash who are looking at global opportunities to buy distressed businesses.”
He believes the market is close to the bottom, although we are unlikely to see any significant shift in sentiment until the first quarter of 2010.
He said: “I believe we are close to the bottom. People are starting to believe that things are not going to get any worse, but it will be a long time before it gets better.”
Out of the big four accountancy firms only PwC and KPMG now have North East-based corporate finance teams.
Deloitte’s team is closing at the end of the month and Ernst and Young pulled out about five years ago.
We are advising North East corporate clients looking at global opportunities to buy distressed businesses.