The Mergers & Acquisitions Review - Sixth Edition: Chapter 13: British Virgin Islands

I OVERVIEW OF M&A ACTIVITY -

Given the international financial climate, it is perhaps unsurprising that the past 12 months have seen unpredictable deal flows involving British Virgin Islands (‘BVI’) companies, with spikes of high activity interspersed with more cautious periods where clients adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach to the financial markets, and to doing deals generally. Deal volumes involving BVI companies have largely followed the global economic conditions; while Asia has continued to thrive and Russia and CIS have remained strong, the levels of transaction activity in the United States, the United Kingdom and European markets have been less consistent. As has been the case throughout the global financial crisis, certain clients will always have the means to close high-profile and high-value transactions, but the overall volume of activity remains below 2007–2008 levels. Transactions are often delayed, credit committees are less willing to commit to release funding on accelerated timescales and transaction documents are negotiated more heavily than ever. On the whole, while there are certainly pockets of activity with interesting deals still being done, it remains a relatively uncertain time for transactional lawyers.

While the prospects at the more mature end of the market remain mixed, there remains hope for the coming years in terms of new structures being incorporated in the BVI, which, depending on market conditions in the coming years, may well be the big-ticket mergers and acquisitions of the short to medium term. The BVI Financial Services Commission (‘the FSC’) publishes quarterly statistics relating to the number of BVI company incorporations, which are a useful barometer of the popularity of the jurisdiction and activity levels, shown in the following table.

Originally published in The Mergers & Acquisitions Review, 6th edition

(published in August 2012 – editor Simon Robinson).

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