M&A growth helps make S'pore the deals capital of the region

Top deals involved Temasek Holdings, DBS and others buying a stake in Postal Savings Bank of China (above) and Qatar Investment Authority's acquisition of Asia Square Tower 1.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Singapore remained the region's leading dealmaker this year.

There were 800 transactions worth US$88.1 billion (S$125.4 billion) recorded here, easily topping figures in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Singapore's total number also topped last year's tally of 685 deals, which were worth US$103.8 billion, according to corporate adviser Duff & Phelps.

It credited the continued momentum here mainly to sizeable merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions by GIC and Temasek Holdings as well as standalone deals, such as CMA CGM buying out Neptune Orient Lines, Singtel's purchase of Intouch Holdings and Qatar Investment Authority's acquisition of Asia Square Tower 1.

M&A deal volumes grew 16 per cent here this year, while deal values declined by 18 per cent compared with the same period a year ago.

Top deals involved Temasek Holdings, DBS and others buying a stake in Postal Savings Bank of China and Qatar Investment Authority's acquisition of Asia Square Tower 1.

Outbound deals continue to drive M&A value.

There have been 485 cross-border M&A deals here this year, totalling US$69.7 billion.

The bulk - US$57 billion, or 81.9 per cent - came from 318 outbound deals.

These occur when Singapore-based firms or wealth funds buy overseas companies.

Domestic acquisitions contributed to 15.8 per cent of all M&A value, with 199 deals worth US$13 billion.

"We saw a record year of M&A deals in 2015 in the global market as well as in Singapore," said Duff & Phelps managing director Srividya Gopalakrishnan.

"Clearly, Asia has emerged as a strong player in the M&A arena, overtaking Europe, driven by large outbound acquisitions by China, Singapore and other Asian countries in their quest to increase their global footprint."

Real estate has been the largest contributor to M&A deal values here this year, accounting for almost 30 per cent, overtaking technology - last year's leader and now in third place after the industrial sector.

There was also a significant pickup for initial public offerings (IPOs), with 16 this year raising US$1.9 billion in all on the Singapore Exchange.

There were 13 IPOs last year, which raised US$450.7 million.

The largest IPO this year was Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust, which raised about US$664 million.

The region - defined in the report as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia - recorded total deal activity valued at US$111.8 billion spread across 1,308 transactions this year.

Globally, about 35,192 deals valued at over US$3 trillion were registered in the same period.

Private equity and venture capital firms have been active in Singapore this year, racking up deals worth US$3.5 billion - the highest since 2012.

One of the most notable was the US$750 million investment in GrabTaxi led by Softbank Group.

Duff & Phelps said there are over 50 deals in the pipeline in the region, with a potential value of over US$16 billion.

These include the proposed US$2.5 billion acquisition of InterOil Corp by Exxon Mobil Corp, the US$1 billion investment in Singapore's Super Group by Jacobs Douwe Egberts and ARA Asset Management's buyout, which has a potential deal value of US$688 million.

But as Ms Gopalakrishnan noted: "The sentiments are rather negative at the moment. It will be interesting to see how deal-making will shape up in 2017 and to what extent restructuring would contribute to the transactions landscape in our current times of uncertainty."


1. Temasek Holdings, DBS and other investors bought a 16.9 per cent stake in Postal Savings Bank of China valued at US$7 billion (S$10 billion).

2. GIC and others acquired Australian ports and rail giant Asciano in a deal valued at US$6.8 billion.

3. Broadcom, co-headquartered in Singapore and the United States, acquired tech firm Brocade Communications for US$5.5 billion.

4. GIC, Brookfield Infrastructure Partners and other investors acquired a majority stake in natural gas firm Nova Transportadora for US$5.2 billion.

5. Temasek Holdings and other investors acquired an undisclosed stake in China's group deals site Meituan-Dianping for US$3.3 billion.

6. GIC bought P3 Logistic Parks for US$2.667 billion.

7. Qatar Investment Authority bought Asia Square Tower 1 for US$2.5 billion.

8. CMA CGM bought Neptune Orient Lines for US$2.4 billion.


This article was first published on December 14, 2016.
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