Dow Schofield Watts advised on 22 deals worth £194m in the first half of 2016 – an increase in value of 55% on the same period last year, when it advised on 16 deals worth £124.8m.

The firm said the growth reflected the increase in business confidence before the Brexit vote.

Key deals in the North West during the six months include the £50m buy-out of the New World Trading Company, the pub and restaurant business whose brands include The Botanist and The Oast House; the sale of the Berwin Group, a leading UK rubber compounder, to the Swedish listed company HEXPOL AB; and Beech Tree Private Equity’s investment in the Fluent Money Group, the UK’s largest online secured loans broker.

The firm also advised RSK Group, one of Europe’s leading multidisciplinary environmental consultancies, on the acquisition of Dynamic Sampling; and leading milk logistics company SJ Bargh Group on its acquisition of the haulage firm RG Bassett & Sons.

Key deals in Yorkshire & the North East during the period include the sale of Colt Industrial Services to Augean plc, one of the UK’s leading specialist waste management businesses; the acquisition of SAS Direct & Partitioning by SIG Plc, the FTSE 250 materials distribution specialist; and the acquisition of a 75% stake in Simon Gibson Transport by the European logistics provider Groupe Charles Andre.

The firm also advised on LDC’s investment in Giacom World Networks, the cloud IT and communications provider; and Mobeus Equity Partners’ investment in Redline Assured Security; and the management buy-outs of PPE, maintenance and safety products supplier Selectequip and its sister company Coolsign; janitorial distribution business CPD; and the secondary inspection and contract packers Yorkshire Repak.

Ed Brentnall, Director with the transaction services team, said: “We are delighted with the increase in both deal volume and value, which shows not just the appetite of our private equity, corporate and banking clients during the first half of the year, but also the quality of opportunities across the North of England and the continued growth in DSW’s reputation for its advisory and due diligence work.”

Mark Watts, Director of Dow Schofield Watts’ corporate finance team, said: “Confidence has been improving progressively with businesses being able to raise finance for strategic transactions and values at pre-recession levels. Brexit undoubtedly has created some uncertainty which we hope will dissipate as the political landscape stabilises and a clear strategy emerges that is positively received by our trading partners.

“Importantly, a lower Sterling exchange rate will present opportunities for exporters and inbound acquirers and the funding landscape from banks, to alternative debt funds, to equity investors, remains diverse and open for business. Business owners should, therefore, be able to address a wide range of short and longer term objectives. Our pipeline of future deals reflects this diversity and the breadth and depth of experience that our team can provide.”