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2020 Automotive M&A Update

During the first half of 2020, M&A activity in the automotive industry was down from previous years due to uncertainty stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, with cross-border deals becoming more complex. However, the pandemic also resulted in new opportunities for consolidation within the industry.

There were $11.9 billion in M&A deals, which represented a 54.8% decrease in value compared to the first half of 2019. Most investments were in the pursuit of CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electrified) technologies. This type of tech is predicted to drive M&A through the end of 2020. Dealmakers are expected to concentrate on securing supply chains and increasing resiliency rather than expanding globally.

Global Deal Activity

The majority of deal value in volume in the first half of 2020 took place in Asia and Oceania, followed by North America. The largest automotive transaction in the first half of the year was valued at $2.9 billion, with Traton SE, a vehicle-manufacturing subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, acquiring Navistar International Corporation. Volkswagen Group China continued to strengthen its electrification strategy by making two acquisitions valued at more than $1 billion each: Gotion High-tech Co. and JAC Volkswagen Automotive Company.

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Greenkey Garden & Home Ltd and Retail Equipment Limited

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the sale of Gloucestershire-based Greenkey to Suffolk-based Retail Equipment.

Established in 2003, Greenkey is a trademarked brand and is an established distributor of its own brand of garden equipment, garden décor and animal habitats. The company supplies to garden centres, DIY outlets, agricultural merchants, and online retailers nationwide.

Retail Equipment is a wholesale company selling shopfittings. The acquisition is part of the company’s buy and build strategy.

Do you have an exit or growth strategy in place?

The directors Jeremy and Emma Parkes will retire in six months allowing the opportunity for the new management to develop the business further.

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When Is The Right Time To Retire?

The right time to retire is going to be different for everyone based on individual circumstances and goals. While finances are obviously a major factor in the decision, being emotionally and mentally ready is equally important. Here are some points you should consider if you are thinking about embarking on retirement.

Financial Stability
Retirement hinges upon having the appropriate income to support a comfortable lifestyle in the future. This entails having an accurate and realistic picture of what your expenses will be and how much you will need in order to cover them, including income from your savings, pensions, social security, 401ks, IRAs, and any other assets. The earlier you plan to retire, the more significant your nest egg will need to be. Waiting a few years can help you build up more financial security through tax-advantage investment accounts. So if you love what you do, a later retirement means that you can continue doing it while you shore up your savings for the future. A common algorithm for retirement planning is to have savings that are 25 times the amount of your annual expenses.

No Debt
When heading into retirement, it is advised that you make sure you do not have outstanding debt in the form of high-interest credit cards and outstanding loans aside from a mortgage or car financing, which can be taken into account for your needed expenses. By eliminating debt, your retirement income can be used for current expenses instead of past expenses and offer you added peace of mind.

The Economy
While there is no way to be sure what the future holds, if there are signs of an economic downturn, you may want to hold off on the retirement plans for a bit. This will give the markets time to recover, which will help you recoup your invested assets and retire with a better bottom line.

 

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Benchmark International Provides PCs to the Community

Earlier this year, Benchmark International donated 20 tablets to care homes, hospitals and hospices to help residents stay connected whilst they were unable to have visitors.

The donations were a success and were well-received by the residents and those working at the facilities.

Keen to find another way of supporting people who have been in need during these unprecedented times, Benchmark International, in collaboration with Lantec, partnered with the same local charity, PCrefurb, to donate 32 refurbed PCs to disadvantaged people.

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6 Considerations When Selecting A Transaction Advisor

The most expensive mistake in selling a business is to undersell it. A qualified intermediary can add significant value to a transaction simply by virtue of experience.

Putting this into context, buyers are fit for transactions, they conclude deals in multiple jurisdictions and often have dedicated teams that focus exclusively on mergers and acquisitions. Business owners may typically have done a transaction or even two in their careers, but most often they have not yet sold a business and can benefit enormously by having a seasoned sell-side advisor on their team.

Whilst there are very broad categories of advisor; no two intermediaries are the same. In selecting an advisor there are some fundamental questions to ask that will help establish whether the firm will meet your specific needs and requirements.

1. Who will manage my deal?

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Oracle Drive Systems Limited and Veruth Holdings Limited

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the sale of leading variable speed drive and control systems integrator, Oracle Drive Systems, to Veruth Holdings, owner of Europa Components plc and other companies, through sell-side advisers Benchmark International and Primas.

Veruth, a second-generation family holding company, has a policy of long-term development and growth for the companies it is involved with. It is delighted that John Mullins, founder of Oracle, is remaining as Sales Director.

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

Oracle will continue to build on its 16 years of experience and expertise with many blue-chip companies now with the backing to expand. Already in the last month new offices have been opened in Billingham in the North East of England, adding to the Batley unit in West Yorkshire, as well as taking on more project engineers and support staff to handle the new work the company is being awarded.

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M&A Outlook Under Biden Election Win

Now that Biden was named the President-elect, what does this mean for mergers and acquisitions under a Biden administration? The good news is that mergers and acquisitions activity is expected to increase regardless of the election results. Many experts predict that M&A activity will return to pre-pandemic levels in the next year, and that the market will be favorable for the next few years.

Taxes
President Biden’s proposed tax plan raises the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, which would likely make M&A deals more expensive. Biden has also voiced support for an increase in capital gains taxes, which could impact M&A activity. The proposed plan would tax long-term capital gains and qualified dividends at the ordinary income tax rate of 39.6% on income over $1 million, and eliminates step-up in basis for capital gains taxation. Sellers may be anxious to complete deals prior to 2021 to dodge higher taxes and potentially lower valuations, and to avoid having increased capital gains taxes cut into profits from a deal.

The Biden plan also restores the top individual federal income tax rate from 37% to the pre-Trump rate of 39.6%. It also promotes tax provisions to penalize the exporting of jobs overseas and to incentivize investments in new infrastructure and green energy, transportation and manufacturing, and establishes a minimum tax on corporations with book profits of $100 million or more, structured as a 15% alternative minimum tax, to prevent them from paying no taxes. The plan also offers tax credits to small businesses for adopting workplace retirement savings plans and creates a Manufacturing Communities Tax Credit to reduce the tax liability of businesses that face workforce layoffs or a major government institution closure.

It is important to note that getting tax code changes enacted into law requires congressional leadership and the White House to work together to reach consensus. This can be challenging, and can also take a considerable amount of time, meaning that there may not be immediate tax implications for M&A. But you still may not want to wait until 2021 to sell your company. Here’s why.  

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Benchmark International Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Johnson Claim Service, Inc. and Davies

Benchmark International facilitated the transaction of Johnson Claim Service, Inc. in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It has been acquired by Davies.

Johnson Claim Service provides insurance adjuster and appraisal services for insurance contracts written to cover property, casualty transportation and agricultural claims. The transportation claims include truck, trailer, heavy equipment physical damage, motor truck cargo, dealers open lot, garage keeper’s legal liability and non-truck liability. The company has both a domestic and international client base for which its services are provided.

Allen G. Johnson, President of Johnson Claim Service commented regarding the transaction, "We engaged Benchmark to assist in providing professional services in the sale of our insurance related business.   Their team, and most importantly their Deal Associate who handled our transaction through to completion, stayed involved during some difficult negotiations.  The Deal Associate helped JCS finish the business sale with a very positive result for the owners.  Great job Benchmark International!"

Johnson Claim Service will join Davies already established Claims Solutions business in the US, adding specialist transportation claims capability. Globally Davies has more than 4,000 colleagues, with operating centers across the UK, Ireland, Bermuda, the US and Canada.  The business delivers professional services and technology solutions across the risk and insurance value chain, including excellence in claims, underwriting, distribution, regulation, customer experience, human capital, digital transformation & change management. This deal marks Davies sixth acquisition of 2020. 

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

Benchmark International proved its value in finding a buyer with experience in the industry through its proprietary multi-medium marketing strategies. In addition, Benchmark International incorporated several campaigns with local, regional and national associations.

Deal Associate Amy Alonso at Benchmark International commented, “Benchmark International added value by negotiating this deal. We saw throughout the entire process that the buyer, Davies, was a perfect fit who stood to benefit greatly from the experience, industry knowledge and high quality service that they would gain from the existing owner. With this knowledge, the team was able to negotiate a deal that would allow for the existing owner to successfully transition the business to a capable buyer. We wish Johnson Claim Service Inc and Davies the best of luck in their future endeavors.”

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Benchmark International Is Proud To Be A Part Of The 2020 OCFO Founders Conference

Benchmark International is proud to be a part of the 2020 OCFO Founders Conference, taking place virtually, during Global Entrepreneurship Week on 19th November 2020.

As part of the event, Dustin Graham, Managing Partner of Transactions for Benchmark International's South African offices, will be speaking on the topic Building Your Business For Sale.

Topic: Building for Sale,  14:40–15:00 – Dustin Graham
Event date and time:
19th November 2020, 13:00–16:00
Location: Virtual event
Link to register and ticket sales:  https://zcu.io/1od4
Link to event agenda: https://www.foundersevents.co.za/agenda/

OCFO Founders Conference Annual Event
The annual Founders Conference normally takes place in the heart of beautiful Cape Town during Global Entrepreneurship Week. However, in the light of Covid-19, It was decided to host the Founders Conference as a virtual event this year.

The conference brings together top business people, investors, and entrepreneurs in South Africa for powerful networking, learning, and inspiration. The Founders Conference is one of the biggest gatherings of entrepreneurs on the African continent—not to be missed by any serious founder. Speakers include some of the most successful founders around the globe and investors who have raised and invested billions.

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