Healthcare is hot

The healthcare sector has been voted as the best area for private equity to invest in this year as the investors flee for safety in the wake of the economic downturn.

Traditionally regarded as a safe-haven for investment, healthcare is proving popular according to the results of a survey published by mid-market house August Equity. August, which recently sold Healthcare Homes Group, found that 17% of respondents to the survey – carried out by Mergermarket’s research arm Remark – regarded healthcare as “hot”.

Another popular area included the energy, utilities and mining sector, a reflection of rising oil and commodity prices, with 16% voting for this. In third place sat business services, chosen by 11%, with media gathering 10% of the vote, and IT and leisure each garnering 7%.

The survey also showed that 65% of the 70 private equity participants felt the mid-market, defined here as buyouts worth £100m or less, was the place to be. Venture capital and the wider private equity world collected a combined 14% from respondents who believed these were the parts of the market most likely to generate returns and dealflow in the current environment. Distressed deals came in third with 7%, sector specific also with 7%, and 4% felt that trade buyers were likely to make a comeback in 2008.