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Overseas buying helps push quarter’s M&As past $16b

Zhong Nan
Updated: Apr 20,2016 8:53 AM     China Daily

China’s hunger for cutting-edge technologies and quality assets has pushed its companies to seal 142 big-ticket acquisition deals abroad in the first quarter of the year, the Ministry of Commerce said on April 19.

The total value generated from these overseas acquisitions between January and March was $16.56 billion, up 13.4 percent year-on-year.

Chinese enterprises acquired foreign companies in 15 industries including infrastructure, construction machinery and service businesses in 36 countries and regions.

Shen Danyang, spokesman for the ministry, said the worldwide economic slowdown and change of landscape in the global industry chain have offered opportunities for Chinese companies to purchase overseas assets.

Within the country, a relaxed policy environment, abundant cash reserves and a rising private sector have spurred Chinese companies to learn from their foreign rivals and seek bargains overseas via merger and acquisition activities.

“The surge in China’s acquisition deals, as well as other types of outbound direct investment ..., can be attributed to a host of developments that have taken place both outside and inside China,” said Shen.

“Their activities have also created a large number of jobs in countries such as the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and Brazil,” Shen said.

The largest acquisition deal during the first quarter was sealed by China’s Three Gorges Corp, the world’s largest hydropower producer. It gained 30-year concession rights to operate two major hydroelectric projects in Brazil, with a total investment of $3.7 billion.

The US and Hong Kong were the largest destinations for private and State-owned Chinese companies to carry out acquisition activities, according to data from the ministry. The majority of their investments went to high-end manufacturing, information technologies, commercial services and infrastructure development.

China COSCO Shipping Corp, the world’s largest bulk vessel and oil tanker operator by fleet size, became a majority stake holder in Piraeus Port Authority SA earlier this month. Piraeus Port is the largest in Greece.

Under the deal, the Chinese company will pay 280.5 million euros ($318 million) to the Greek government for the initial acquisition of a 51 percent stake. It will pay an additional 88 million euros within five years for another 16 percent, provided it has implemented the agreed-upon investments in the port.