There is no denying that the COVID-19 crisis poses perhaps the most significant challenge to the Scottish economy in recent years. Figures produced by the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute on 9 April suggest a bleak outlook: the number of Scottish businesses seeing an increase in the volume of their business over the last quarter is the lowest they have recorded since 2009. This is not cheerful reading either for those businesses looking for targets and investment opportunities in Scotland, nor for those business owners contemplating, or in the midst of, an exit.

However, we are not convinced that in reality, it is all bad news for Scotland’s M&A prospects. It has been business as usual for MacRoberts’ Corporate team since the ‘lockdown’ and we have been working tirelessly with our clients to progress deals where this is possible and mitigate the effects of this unprecedented crisis. In fact, a number of our clients remain quietly optimistic. Many are exploiting the unexpected opportunities arising and diversifying their businesses in order to plan positively for the future.

Here, we share some common themes and insights gathered from these conversations with our clients and other professional advisors, as well as some practical tips on how to make the most of the downtime.

We are confident that, despite the challenges and adversity, Scotland’s SMEs can (and will) weather the storm and arise in a strong position to face whatever the future holds.

Download our guide to M&A in SME Scotland amidst COVID-19