Singapore M&A soars 70.6% to US$88.3b in 2019 to date


MERGER and acquisitions (M&A) involving Singapore companies soared 70.6 per cent year on year to US$88.3 billion in the year to date from US$51.7 billion, making it the strongest first nine-month period on record, according to Refinitiv data.

The number of deals recorded year to date was 13.9 per cent lower at 749 compared with 870 in the same period last year, indicating that deal sizes were larger.

For the period, M&A activity targeting Singapore stood at US$32 billion due to an 89.9 per cent increase in deal value from the comparable period last year.

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Singapore-involved M&A refers to deals which have a Singaporean target, acquirer, target ultimate parent, acquirer ultimate parent, or seller at the time of the transaction, according to Refinitiv. A large slice of the deal-making pie involved Singapore’s real estate sector at 49.8 per cent and totalled US$44 billion. This is followed by financials with a 19.2 per cent market share and US$16.9 billion in deal value, and high technology at 6.5 per cent market share worth US$5.7 billion.

In the third quarter of the year, M&A activity totalled US$24.6 million, a decrease of 35.1 per cent from the second quarter.

The report added that Singapore is the “most targeted” nation in South-east Asia for M&A, taking up 50.2 per cent of all M&A activity in the region.

For the year to date, domestic M&A about doubled to US$16.7 billion from a year ago. Inbound M&A activity was up 70.2 per cent from a year ago to US$15.3 billion; while outbound activity rose 3.6 per cent with US$18.5 billion in deal value. Total cross-border deal activity amounted to US$33.9 billion, up 25.9 per cent compared with a year ago. When it came to completed M&A, advisory fees were down 16.5 per cent to US$153.8 million, from a record high of US$184.2 million the year prior.

Overall, investment banking activities in Singapore generated US$577.8 million in fees for the first nine months of the year, down 2 per cent from a year ago.

Out of such activities, DBS Group Holdings earned US$72 million in investment banking fees in the same period, copping a 12.5 per cent share of the total fee pool and topping the fee league table.

In terms of equity-capital markets (ECM), Singapore equity and equity-linked proceeds totalled US$5.7 billion in the year so far, up 43.9 per cent from US$3.96 billion a year ago.

This was driven by real estate investment trust (Reit) initial public offerings (IPOs) which amounted to US$1.4 billion, quadrupling from US$315.6 million a year ago. The largest South-east Asian IPO was Prime US Reit at US$833 million.

ECM underwriting fees rose 60.2 per cent to a six-year high of US$142.9 million with DBS ranking first in underwriting with a 17.9 per cent market share and US$1 billion in related proceeds. Tied at second place are Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs each with a 13.6 per cent market share and US$776.3 million in related proceeds.

Fees from debt capital markets underwriting fell 6.7 per cent to US$142.1 million, while syndicated lending fees also dropped 15.2 per cent to a three-year low of US$139 million.

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