Survey shows 67% of oil and gas companies ready to do deals following slow first three quarters

- Appetite for deals up 10 percentage points since April Capital Confidence Barometer

- Close to 90% of oil and gas companies expect M&A market to improve

- Overwhelming majority of companies have two or more deals in pipeline

Dec 03, 2015, 07:05 ET from EY

LONDON, Dec. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- More than two-thirds of global oil and gas executives expect to pursue an acquisition in the next 12 months, according to EY's Oil & Gas Capital Confidence Barometer. This represents a 10 percentage point increase from deal expectations reported in April and follows a lackluster market to date.

Deal volume in the oil and gas sector in the first three quarters of 2015 was dismal, with activity falling nearly 40% from the same period in 2014. However, close to 90% of oil and gas executives expect the M&A market to improve in the next 12 months — a sharp increase from 50% of respondents a year ago. 

Andy Brogan, EY Global Oil & Gas Transactions Leader, says:

"Declining M&A activity in the oil and gas sector in the first part of the year resulted from, in part, a lack of quality assets on the market. That's changing and now we're seeing companies looking at multiple acquisitions. Fifty-eight percent of executives already have three or more deals in the pipeline compared to just 12% six months ago."

While transaction announcements in recent months show the climate for large acquisitions remains accommodative, the majority of deal volume is expected to come from middle market deals valued under US$250m. The upper-middle-market is also gaining traction, with 33% of companies planning deals between US$250m and US$1b

While the appetite for deals is on the rise, challenges persist: 83% of companies either failed to complete or canceled a planned acquisition in the last year.

Brogan says: "Competition from other buyers tops the list of challenges facing companies pursuing acquisitions. Concerns about regulatory or antitrust reviews and a widening valuation gap are also influencing executives' willingness to withdraw from acquisitions."

Continued oil price volatility has widened the valuation gap between buyers and sellers in recent months. The majority of executives believe the gap is larger than six months ago, but 66% expect it to remain the same as companies adjust to a lower-for-longer price outlook.

Brogan says: "There's a stronger sense of determination across the oil and gas industry that's setting the stage for a more active M&A market in the year ahead. Executives continue to focus on conserving cash and reining in costs but are considering acquisition opportunities more seriously. Transactions will play a major role in determining who survives the downturn in prices."

Notes to Editors

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About EY Global Oil & Gas

The oil and gas sector is constantly changing. Increasingly uncertain energy policies, geopolitical complexities, cost management and climate change all present significant challenges. EY's Global Oil & Gas team supports a global network of more than 10,000 oil and gas professionals with extensive experience in providing assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services across the upstream, midstream, downstream and oilfield service sub-sectors. The team works to anticipate market trends, execute the mobility of our global resources and articulate points of view on relevant key sector issues. With our deep sector focus, we can help your organization drive down costs and compete more effectively.

About the report

The EY Global Capital Confidence Barometer is a biannual survey of more than 1,600 senior executives from large companies around the world and more than 100 were from the oil and gas industry. This is the 13th semiannual Barometer in the series, which began in November 2009; respondents for the 13th edition were surveyed August and September. The objective of the Barometer is to gauge corporate confidence in the global and domestic economic outlook, to understand boardroom priorities in the next 12 months, and to identify emerging capital practices that will distinguish those companies building competitive advantage as the global economy continues to evolve.

Sarah Shields                                                                                   
EY Global Media Relations                                                    
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