Japanese firms’ acquisitions of business in Southeast Asia reached record levels both in value and count this year despite a downturn of Japanese M&As in other parts of the world.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nation accounts for 816.3 billion yen ($7.83 billion) in Japanese M&As as of December 16, reports the Nikkei. The figure surpassed the previous record of 557.6 billion yen in 2007 and was significantly higher than the full-year figure in 2012.
The upsurge in Southeast Asian acquisitions poses a stark contrast to Japan’s overall foreign M&As which have been trending about 30% lower on the year. North America and China have seen plunges of some 70% and 60% respectively.
In value terms, the proportion of Japan-ASEAN acquisitions has soared to 17% from 3% last year.
The purchase by Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ of Thailand’s Bank of Ayudhya was one the biggest deals, worth 560 billion yen.
The number of deals was on an all-time high as well, climbing to 92 from 78 last year as Japanese industries across the board—from manufacturers to retailers to financial institutions—start to look outward and seek to gain a foothold in the region’s fast-growing economies.
“We want to secure a solid market share before Japanese rivals make inroads,” says Takahisa Takahara, president of Unicharm, a sanitary napkin and baby diaper maker that bought Myanmar Care Products.
The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) said direct investment by Japanese businesses, such as the establishment of local subsidiaries, has also risen in the region, reaching $13 billion in the first nine months of this year. Last year, the figure stood at $10.6 billion.
By Maesie Bertumen