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Singapore tops region in dealmaking for 2016

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There were 800 transactions worth $125 billion

Singapore remained the region's leading dealmaker this year.

There were 800 transactions worth US$88.1 billion (S$125 billion) recorded here, topping Malaysia and Indonesia.

But last year's 685 deals were worth US$103.8 billion, corporate adviser Duff & Phelps said in its 2016 Transaction Trail report released yesterday.

It credited the continued momentum here mainly to sizeable merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions by GIC and Temasek Holdings and standalone deals such as CMA CGM buying out Neptune Orient Lines.

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

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. Most 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.

Said Duff & Phelps managing director Srividya Gopalakrishnan: "We saw a record year of M&A deals in 2015 in the global market and here."

Real estate has been the largest contributor to M&A deal values here this year, accounting for almost 30 per cent.

There was a significant pickup for initial public offerings (IPOs), with 16 this year raising US$1.9 billion on the Singapore Exchange. There were 13 last year, raising US$450.7 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 here this year, racking up deals worth US$3.5 billion - the highest since 2012.

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

But as Ms Gopalakrishnan noted: "The sentiments are rather negative now.

"It will be interesting to see how deal-making will shape up in 2017 and to what extent restructuring will contribute to the transactions landscape in our times of uncertainty."