Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co., the biggest and most profitable U.S. bank, said takeovers will maintain their pace and initial public offerings in Germany may pick up if the sovereign-debt crisis stabilizes.
Mergers and acquisitions in Germany will probably remain near last year’s level depending on market developments, Dirk Albersmeier, head of German M&A at the bank, said at a press briefing in Frankfurt today. There could be as many as 10 IPOs this year as postponed listings are restarted, said Stefan Weiner, head of equity capital markets for Germany.
“We’re more optimistic now than we were at the end of last year,” said Albersmeier, who named small and mid-sized companies, utilities’ asset sales, industrial firms and spinoffs as activity drivers. “It won’t be a year of mega deals, but of selective add-ons.”
German takeovers fell to the lowest level in a decade in 2011 as the sovereign debt crisis weighed on corporate appetite for acquisitions and clouded the economic outlook, according to JPMorgan. Stock market volatility and investor reticence led to German companies such as Siemens AG’s Osram AG lighting unit and the chemical company Evonik Industries AG to delay IPOs last year.
The first share sale could come in the second quarter and “an icebreaker would be good,” Weiner said. “The pipeline is there.”
Karl-Georg Altenburg, chief executive officer of JPMorgan in Germany, said the U.S. bank’s goal is to “defend and expand” its position as the No. 1 foreign investment bank by fees, behind domestic competitor Deutsche Bank AG. The U.S. lender plans to keep its headcount stable, he said.
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