Mumbai: The value of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) involving Indian companies more than doubled in the first nine months of 2018 to a shade below the $100 billion mark.

M&A deals worth $99.7 billion were reported between January and September, surpassing the annual record of $67.4 billion in 2007, according to Thomson Reuters data. The deals table was led by Walmart’s $16 billion acquisition of Flipkart.

The uptick in M&A activity in India comes at a time when mergers in the Asia-Pacific region have slowed.

Asia-Pacific M&As, excluding Japan, fell to $164.6 billion in the third quarter of 2018, from $171.3 billion in the year-ago period, according to Mergermarket data. The number of deals, too, have declined from 1,058 to 882, largely due to trade tensions between China and the US.

“The data for India, or Asia-Pacific, is not surprising. With India’s huge consumer potential and slowing growth rates in other economies, this trend is expected to continue," said Anil Talreja, partner, Deloitte India.

Domestic M&As hit record levels at $46 billion, tripling in value from the year-ago period and surpassing the annual all-time high of $25.9 billion in 2017. Domestic deals saw the busiest first nine months, up 19.4% from a year ago.

Total cross-border M&As rose 93% to $51.6 billion from a year earlier. Inbound M&A activity increased 65%, while outbound M&A activity grew five-fold in value during the period.

Sector-wise, materials accounted for a majority of the acquisitions involving Indian companies with a 19.8% market share worth $19.7 billion, or an increase of more than 10 times in deal value compared to the first nine months of 2017.

The uptick in M&A activity in India comes at a time when mergers in the Asia-Pacific region have slowed-

Retail, financials, energy and power, and telecom were the other sectors that saw major consolidation.

According to Talreja, consumer-focused industries such as automobile and retail will continue to see increased M&A activity. An improved regulatory framework, boosted by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) and goods and services tax (GST) also makes inbound M&A’s more attractive, he said.

IBC has been in focus, given the scope to expeditiously resolve large amounts of non-performing assets.

Gopal Agrawal, co-head of investment banking at Edelweiss Securities Ltd, agreed: “Promoters are more mature today and want to sell their businesses if they see the right opportunity. Consolidation is a broader industry trend which I think will continue for the next 4-5 years."

“Increased availability of capital is a reason for more M&As and buyouts," said Agrawal.

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