The number of mergers and takeover deals within the food and drinks industry has fallen to its lowest level in ten years, according to a new study.
The findings were uncovered by the information services company Experian, and showed that deals were down by nearly 30 per cent compared to the same period last year.
According to Food Manufacture the value of the the food and drink industry deals came to a total of £857.9 million in the first quarter of the year, compared to £1,807.5 million for the same period in 2012.
The fall within the industry was nearly twice as bad as that seen in the whole of British business as a whole, which saw a total drop of 17.3 per cent.
Mergers or takeovers exceeding £100 million were down by 27.1 per cent, while falls were most noticeable within the mid-market and larger companies range, falling a total of 39 per cent.
However, the total value of the 73 deals agreed within the food and drink sector was still higher than the figure recorded for the same period for four of the last ten years (2003, 2004, 2006 and 2009).
Wendy Driver, business development manager at Experian UK, said: "UK businesses still seem to be maintaining a watchful, wait and see, attitude towards mergers and acquisitions so far this year.
"Subject to the economic outlook continuing to improve, we would anticipate an increase in companies looking to grow by acquisition as we move into the second half of 2013.
"Some sectors are further along the road to recovery than others and the strong activity we are witnessing in the telecoms and financial services sectors is encouraging."
The news comes on the back of the breakdown for a potential merger between Irn Bru maker AG Barr and rival drinks company Britvic.
At the time, Britvic chairman Gerald Corbett said: "Britvic’s prospects as a stand-alone company are bright."