Country's outbound M&As set to expand

By WU YIYAO | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-15 09:59

Outbound mergers and acquisitions by Chinese companies are set to grow, with more private companies buying overseas as they need to expand business globally, according to a report by consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

The total volume of outbound M&As has grown "dramatically" in recent years, from $49 billion in 2010 to $227 billion in 2016, and China is still at a relatively early stage of a long-term growth trend, the report said.

According to McKinsey research data, Chinese companies spent around 0.9 percent of the 2015 GPD on outbound acquisitions, compared with 2 percent of GDP by European Union companies, and 1.3 percent by United States companies.

In recent months, Chinese outbound buying has cooled for several reasons, including tightened management on capital outflows.

The slowdown of outbound buying is likely to be a short-term correction, while the long-term growth trend in outward M&As will continue to gain momentum.

"It is important to break the myth that Chinese outbound buying is mainly government-driven, done by State-owned enterprises, and big-sized deals with cheap funding. In fact, the rationale behind many outbound buyings are Chinese companies' internal demands to expand their global presence. And besides the big deals that drew public attention, most of the deals were mid-sized or smaller," said Paul Gao, senior partner and head of McKinsey's automotive practice in Asia.

David Cogman, a partner who leads McKinsey's China globalization service line, said over the next decade the volume of deals will be a multiple of what was spent in the past.

"But extracting value from acquisitions and successfully integrating them will require Chinese companies to build a range of new capabilities they didn't have before. Post-deal management is quite important for success," said Cogman.

Many deals received "hands-off" management post-deal, particularly minority investments, and the results for those were less than impressive, while deals where the acquirer took a more active approach to integrating the asset had a much higher success rate, according to the report.

Using third-party services for management and consultancy will be increasingly popular among small and mid-sized enterprises, as it may be costly to establish an internal department for global expansion at early stage for a privately owned enterprise, according to the China Overseas Development Association.

Matthias Debroyer, economic and commercial consul at Brussels Invest & Export, at the Consulate General of Belgium in Shanghai, said Chinese firms are advised to use more professional services for post-deal management.

"Due diligence, risk management and post-deal management are among keys to success. Investors need to ensure that core value of the assets they acquire stay and grow after the deal is made," said Debroyer.

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