Asian mergers reach record US$119bil in first quarter


  • Business
  • Thursday, 07 Apr 2005

Asian takeovers reached a record US$119bil in the first quarter, as Japan's Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group Inc (MTFG) and UFJ Holdings Inc announced plans to merge and form the world's biggest bank by assets. 

Nomura Holdings Inc, Japan's No. 1 securities firm, rose to first from seventh among merger advisers in the region, vaulting ahead of Morgan Stanley and pushing JPMorgan Chase & Co into third place, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. 

All three banks worked on the proposed US$29bil merger of MTFG and UFJ. 

“There was a lot of pent up demand,'' said Kalpana Desai, who heads Merrill Lynch & Co's mergers and acquisitions group in Asia outside Japan. “People are still very positive about the first half of this year. It's harder to predict what lies ahead in the second half.'' 

The pace of transactions may slow as rising US interest rates and oil prices combine to increase corporate borrowing costs and operating expenses, Desai said. 

Mergers and acquisitions involving banks, such as Standard Chartered Plc's purchase of Korea First Bank, accounted for 40% of the total value of regional deals, according to Bloomberg data. 

Australia's natural resources industry also helped drive up M&A volumes, led by BHP Billiton Ltd's A$9.2bil purchase of WMC Resources Ltd, the world's No. 5 nickel producer. 

“We expect M&A activity for the rest of the year to continue to be broad based,'' said Matt Hanning, Morgan Stanley's head of M&A for Asia-Pacific. – Bloomberg  

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