The deepening slowdown has had its impact on the deal market in 2019 with mergers and acquisitions (M&As) plummeting over 34 per cent to USD 67.1 billion but still making it the second best, on the back of the USD 6-billion ArcelorMittal takeover of Essar Steel, according to a report.
As per the report by Mergermarket, M&As in 2019 was the second highest in value despite declining 34.4 per cent in 2018, which was the best-ever. But, the report is positive about 2020 as the government has eased foreign investment restrictions and plans to divest state-owned companies.
The report attributes the optimism to the relaxation in the foreign direct investment policy in August, loosening the restriction on coal and lignite mining, contract manufacturing, single-brand retail, and digital media, which may bring more opportunities to foreign investors.
“Overall M&As touched USD 67.1 billion across 422 deals, down 34.4 per cent in value and 3.4 per cent in volume compared to 2018 when the street saw 437 deals worth USD 102.2 billion,” Mergermarket said in a note on Monday.
At USD 67.1 billion, India accounted for 10.4 per cent of the deals in the Asia-Pacific region, said the report.
Of the total, inbound activities remained strong with USD 37.9 billion across 221 deals, while outbound deal value plunged 84.8 per cent to a low of USD 2 billion across 54 deals, the lowest since 2014, when it was printed at USD 1.7 billion.
The numbers would have much worse had it not been for the Essar Steel-ArcelorMittal-Nippon Steel deal worth $6 billion at the end of 2019.
The second biggest was the USD 3.65-billion deal involving a consortium led by Brookfield Infrastructure Partners taking over Tower Infrastructure Trust in July followed by the Bandhan Bank–Gruh Finance deal of USD 3 billion in January.
The fourth-biggest deal was Bhushan Power & Steel Ltd takeover by JSW Steel for USD 2.74 billion in September, and the fifth was Reliance Industries’ USD 2.45-billion deal with Pipeline Infrastructure Trust in March.
Private equity players continued to lead the deal street with buyouts reached record levels for two years in a row at USD 19.6 billion across 123 deals, surpassing the USD 17.6 billion involving 123 deals in the previous year.
Private equity exits, on the other hand, returned to a much more modest level at USD 7.9 million across 48 deals in 2019, following the all-time high in 2018 at USD 35.9 billion involving 59 deals.
With USD 8.3 billion deals across 79 activities, the US remained the dominant foreign investor both in terms of deal value as well as deal count, followed by Canada at USD 7.9 billion across 12 transactions, on the back of two infra-related deals: Brookfield’s USD 3.7 billion investment in Tower Infrastructure Trust and India Infrastructure Trust’s USD 2.4 billion investment in Pipeline Infrastructure.
Meanwhile, deals from Japan jumped a whopping 189 per cent to USD 3.5 billion across 23 deals in 2019 from USD 1.2 billion across 16 deals in 2018 and the Japanese investors are bullish on the country’s logistic industry given the e-commerce boom.