Japanese firms keen on M&A in Vietnam

M&A (merger and acquisition) activities in Vietnam are forecast to continue rising this year, particularly in the partnership with Japan, told a seminar on M&A partnerships in Hanoi on March 6.

Although the total number of M&A deals decreased from over 340 in 2010 to around 250 last year, the total value of the deals more than doubled during the period, increasing from US$1.7 billion in 2010 to US$4 billion in 2011, said Nguyen Anh Phong, deputy general director of the Hanoi Stock Exchange.

Last year saw an increase in the interests of Japanese companies in Vietnam's M&A market, with 23 percent of total deal value coming from Japan. Remarkable deals included Mizuho bank purchasing a 15 percent stake worth US$543.8 billion in Vietcombank and Unicharm buying a 95 percent stake worth 125 in Diana Vietnam.

Phong revealed finance and consumer goods were the two most appealing sectors to Japanese enterprises, with 50 percent of the deals struck in these sectors.

The Director of the New Listing Department of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Yasuyuki Konuma, said Japan is the world's largest investor and its wealthy individual investors are keen on investing in Asian stocks.

”Japanese household assets are the highest in the world at US$19.48 billion, of which cash/deposits in banks account for 55 percent," Yasuyuki said, emphasizing that the Japanese government was encouraging people to invest their savings.

Toshifumi Iwaguchi, director of RECOF Corporation, said decreasing population and domestic demand were driving Japanese companies to invest abroad.

Recent statistics demonstrated that the number of Japan-outbound M&A deals was rapidly increasing, with Japanese enterprises being highly interested in M&As in Asia, Toshifumi said, noting the number of outbound M&A deals with Asian companies last year rising 41 percent year-on-year.

Toshifumi said Japanese firms targeted a wide range of sectors but the percentage in the manufacturing sector has been steadily increasing, from 10 percent in 2007 to 39 percent last year.

Welcoming Japanese capital investment, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong said seeking capital to stabilize and expand business is now the most important issue to Vietnamese companies, and M&As are an effective channel to raise capital.

Dong said that recent M&A deals were still impulsive and unprofessional due to the lack of an appropriate legal framework, industry expertise, human resources and professional consultancy. Therefore, in order to allow M&A deals to develop and protect the rights of participating companies, authorities should draw up M&A regulations and promote co-operation between management bodies and enterprises to provide information and training in new business activities.

VNA/VOV Online