Cross-border M&As to rise, says ING

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Dutch financial giant ING Bank sees Philippine corporations embarking on more cross-border investment and merger and acquisition (M&A) deals to diversify and take advantage of growth opportunities, including those within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) neighborhood.

Former Philippine Stock Exchange president Hans Sicat, who will assume the post of ING Bank Philippine country manager effective Nov. 16, said the foreign bank expected to play a more active role in the domestic economy even as more foreign banking players enter the local market.

“It’s a confirmation that we’re in the right space,” Sicat said in a briefing yesterday.
Outgoing ING country chief Consuelo Garcia said it was indeed a “slugfest” out there but noted that this would only drive ING to define its value proposition, especially given its expertise in M&As and financial advisory.

“Clearly at ING we would like to do more capital market deals, both debt and equity’ transactions. But more than capital market deals, you’ll also see us bring to fore our structuring and advisory expertise,” Sicat added, noting that Philippines was a “priority” country for ING.

A trained mathematician and economist who brings with him three decades of experience and expertise in investment banking and the global capital markets, Sicat said he hoped to build on and expand the business that Garcia and the ING global team had established.

“Philippine conglomerates are growing bigger and expanding into other markets in Asia and Europe. ING has the international network across 40 countries to help them meet their ambitions,” Sicat said.

On Asean, Sicat said ING was optimistic that liberalization efforts especially in money and labor flows would create even more economic activity. “When you think of it from the ING hat, a number of our other stakeholders and clients are looking at these cross-border opportunities to grow and that provides us some additional transaction opportunities,” Sicat said.

“Even smaller companies are also beginning to flex their muscles internally, trying to figure out how to build a critical mass,” he said. While everybody tends to focus on the large conglomerates, Sicat said even slightly smaller were trying to look at consolidation opportunities to be able to provide service at much reasonable costs.

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