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Outlook 2021

Conditions ripe for M&A in FB&A

Economic conditions in the food, beverage and agribusiness sectors have positioned the industry for a sharp uptick in corporate activity in 2021.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, FB&A companies around the globe are reassessing their business models, with divestment and further investment both on the table.

A low interest-rate environment will encourage investment in FB&A from outside the sector, particularly as returns continue to look favourable against other traditional asset classes. On top of this, the market is flush with capital, and the pandemic has reminded everyone of the critical importance of food security and captive supply.

When you put all these things together, it’s easy to see a spike in merger and acquisition activity being one of the key themes dominating the FB&A sector in 2021.

None of us really know what the new normal for is going to look like. At ANZ, we think the businesses who are innovative, adaptable and forward-looking are the ones who are going to succeed. 


The continued evolution of food and supply chains seen in 2020 will remain a key factor for the sector in 2021. COVID-19 ushered in a period of rapid change in customer supply chains, with many ANZ customers noting they made years of strategic progress in a matter of months in 2020.

Border closures forced adjustments to sourcing arrangements, manufacturing processes were reorganised to meet changing demand, and the ‘last mile’ of transactions transformed through contactless payment and digital delivery channels. We expect this rapid, industry wide change to continue in the New Year.

Finally, ongoing geopolitical uncertainty will continue to influence trade. With no immediate end in sight to some of the tensions that exist or trade barriers introduced, associated risks will continue to influence decision making.  

History shows us global markets do adapt and soft commodity exports will find a new home - but such a transition is neither an easy or smooth one. There will be bumps along the way.

At ANZ, we're focussed on working with our customers to support them during that transition - and help discover new markets for their business.

Ian Hanrahan is Head of FB&A Australia at ANZ Institutional

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