The global aerospace and defence sectors saw a record number of mergers and acquisitions last year and the trend should be strong this year as well, a study by consultants PwC said Friday.
PricewaterhouseCoopers put the value of aggregate 2011 deal value at $43.7 billion spread over 341 transactions, surpassing the previous record of $42 billion set in 2007.
"The most significant trend affecting the aerospace and defence industry is the contrast in civil and military outlooks," PwC added, noting that the former had benefitted from Asian fleet expansions and a need by airlines everywhere for new, more economical planes as fuel prices climbed skywards.
"While we may not see the record for the largest deal in sector history broken for some time, the weight of evidence suggests that 2012 will be another robust year," the consulting group concluded.
In particular, European groups interested in the North American market have purchased US and Canadian companies to produce more products using dollars, the currency in which global deals are billed.
The value of mergers and acquisitions in the United States totalled $30.1 billion, with 26 deals worth $50 million or more, while Europe accounted for 12 more transactions at that level, and a total of $7.5 billion.
Looking ahead, "there will likely be more moves by defence contractors to establish themselves further in the civil market as well as more consolidation between aerospace suppliers," PwC said.
"In addition, several emerging markets continue to develop their own domestic aerospace industries, which are acting as another spur for aerospace transactions," it added.