The year 2022 witnessed significant activity in the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) landscape in Costa Rica. Despite the volatility posed by a period of strong recovery from the global pandemic, the country’s business environment showed resilience, attracting both domestic and international investors. This annual review highlights some of the notable M&A deals that took place in Costa Rica during the year.

The year 2022 was characterized by a larger proportion of transactions involving domestic companies. At the same time, transactions involving foreign acquirors were less represented in the statistics for 2022 than in previous years. Traditionally cross-border transactions involving foreign acquirors have been the main participants in the M&A market in Costa Rica.

Consolidation among domestic players included the acquisition of CNC by Hospital Metropolitano (healthcare sector); acquisition of Productos de Concreto by Holcim (building materials sector); acquisition of ACI by Aquafoods (agriculture sector, specifically seafood) and the acquisition of Super Viquez by Gessa (retail sector) and the sale by Grupo Nacion of Yuplon and digital recruitment assets (media sector).  These transactions are all primarily domestic transactions and reflect consolidation among successful companies in the Costa Rican economy. The drivers of these transactions include the opportunity for a competitive advantage from an expanded market share, increased efficiency, improved services, and greater financial stability.

A notable deal also announced in 2022 was the sale of 100% the prominent Costa Rica coffee roaster Café Rey to BIA Coffee Investments, a Guatemalan group, which represents the most interesting cross-border acquisition and foreign investment of the year. However, the transaction is yet to be approved by COPROCOM and is therefore not yet unconditional.

It is interesting to note that there were no announced transactions in Tourism and Hospitality sector which in 2022 and 2023 is riding the wave of the unprecedented growth of international tourism in the post-pandemic era. Our assessment is that the absence of deals reflects the strength of the market, extremely high valuations and the desire of operators to take advantage of such a favorable climate. We anticipate an increase in transactions when the cycle starts to weaken, valuations decline and consolidation becomes necessary again.

The M&A landscape in Costa Rica showcased resilience and adaptability in 2022.  As Costa Rica continues to position itself as an attractive investment destination, the M&A activity is likely to remain robust in the coming years, contributing to the country’s economic development and diversification.