Business / Economy

China's Q1 outbound M&A deal value exceeds all annual figures

By Cai Xiao (China Daily) Updated: 2016-04-27 07:55
China's outbound deals reached a historic high in value in the first quarter of 2016, and listed companies have become the main force, according to a report from PwC.

A total of 115 Chinese outbound M&A deals were announced in the first quarter of 2016, with an overall value of $82.6 billion, eclipsing all previous annual figures.

This growth follows the positive trend in the volume of Chinese outbound M&A deals in 2015, which surged by 41 percent to 346, with a total value of $55.1 billion.

"Chinese mainland enterprises continued to actively engage in outbound M&A deals, spurred by their inherent need to step up transformation, bolster competitiveness and diversify overseas asset allocation," said Carol Wu, PwC China transaction services partner.

Wu said outbound M&A has become part of the long-term strategy for many Chinese companies, and is less likely to be affected by temporary fluctuations in the Chinese economy or renminbi depreciation.

"Over time, outbound M&As have shown robust growth and played an important role supporting the emergence of true Chinese multinational companies," said Wu.

Additionally, China National Chemical Corp's purchase of Swiss seeds and pesticides group Syngenta AG for $43 billion in early 2016, which would be the biggest single outbound M&A deal in terms of value by a Chinese mainland company, raises the potential for even greater increases in the growth of outbound M&As this year.

Listed companies have been the main source of outbound M&A activity in the Chinese mainland, accounting for 58 percent of the total deal numbers in 2015, the report showed.

Among them, the number of listed companies on China's small and medium-sized enterprise board rose from 10 in 2014 to 52 in 2015. The number of companies listed on China's main board rose from 41 to 69.

Remarkably, Chinese mainland main board-listed companies came in top in 2015 in terms of deal value, exceeding the outbound M&A deal value of Hong Kong-listed companies for the first time.

"Sufficient liquidity in the Chinese capital market will continue to support Chinese outbound M&A activity," said Kevin Wang, a PwC tax partner.

Wang said high valuations in the Chinese stock market make overseas assets relatively cheap and Chinese listed companies will continue to offer competitive prices during the bidding process.

In 2015, State-owned enterprises' outbound deal value grew by 51 percent compared to that of 2014, topping the list; The outbound deal activities of sizable private enterprises and financial buyers were still led by a few experienced buyers.

Developed markets like Europe and the United States continued to be the most popular destinations for Chinese buyers. However, Chinese companies have also been widening their scope to include opportunities in Asia.

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