• Timo Knak, Partner |

Despite inflationary pressures, interest rate rises and a potential recession, Swiss deal markets were resilient last year – partly due to high levels of private equity dry powder. ESG factors continued to gain importance, with ESG due diligence increasingly being carried out early in transactions.

Inflation and uncertainty prevailed in 2022, fueled primarily by supply chain issues as we emerged from the pandemic, and the outbreak of war in Ukraine. M&A became even tougher as business plans and valuations were more difficult to assess in light of the uncertainties. At the same time, consideration of ESG factors in the deal space continued to grow, with environmental, social and governance due diligence (ESG DD) occurring earlier in the transaction process and in valuations.

Despite the considerable challenges, Swiss dealmaking proved remarkably resilient. 2021 had been a record year. 2022 was even stronger, with the number of deals up seven percent to a new record high. 

Strong performance in both the number and value of deals

The number of deals involving Swiss businesses (outbound, inbound and domestic transactions) rose to 647 last year. Although the total value of deals fell from a record USD 169.6 billion in 2021 to USD 138.5 billion last year, 2022 remains one of the highest years over the past decade. 

Western Europe was once again by far Switzerland’s biggest investment partner with regard to the value of both outbound and inbound transactions, dwarfing the Americas and Asia-Pacific which had seen some major transactions in prior years. 

In terms of industry sectors, the highest number of deals were generated by Technology, Media & Telecommunications; Industrial Markets; and Pharmaceuticals & Life Sciences. The single largest transactions came from the Chemicals and Consumer Markets, however, being Royal DSM’s purchase of Firmenich for USD 20.7 billion and PMI’s acquisition of Swedish Match for USD 18.9 billion respectively.

How to lead the way in ESG due diligence

As stakeholder expectations remain on the up, M&A teams are increasingly conducting ESG due diligence on targets at an early stage. Many are unclear how to incorporate it into existing due diligence frameworks, however, and even more are unsure what ‘good ESG due diligence’ looks like.

Based on our expert insights and our survey of more than 150 active dealmakers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, our publication contains an article that sets out what works, what does not work, and immediate priorities for M&A practitioners to systematically incorporate ESG into their transactions. From establishing a clear link between ESG DD and your corporate sustainability strategy, to developing your framework, securing the appropriate resources, and continuously improving your approach – our article includes questions that Swiss dealmakers should be asking themselves in order to judge the adequacy of their approaches.

Read our full report for insights into M&A trends by sector and access our deal database of all transactions in 2022 and back to 2016 involving a Swiss buyer, seller or target. Clarity on M&A: kpmg.ch/ma.

Our services and further information

Stay up to date with what matters to you

Gain access to personalized content based on your interests by signing up today