Dec 21, 2012 11:44 PM IST | Source: CNBC-TV18

Indian M&A on high, lures Japanese eye: Grant Thornton

HV Harish, partner- India leadership team for Grant Thornton highlights, on CNBC-TV18, that the M&A segment in India has been on a high during the year despite a host of negative factors.

It's been a rocky year for the M&A segment- eurozone concerns, a weak rupee and a slowdown in the reform process. HV Harish, partner- India leadership team, Grant Thornton highlights, on CNBC-TV18, that the M&A segment in India has been on a high during the year despite a host of negative factors.

Below is an edited transcript of the interview on CNBC-TV18

Q: How has 2012 panned out then for deal street?

A: I think 2012 has not been too bad considering the kind of negative factors such as the fear of a downgrade. For the third year in a row, there would be about 1,000 deals and almost USD 50-billion worth of mergers and acquisitions (M&A). This translates to something like 3-3.5 deals a day. So it has been a great year for M&As despite a dip in activity in the middle of the year. But I think there has been a significant uptake in the last few months particularly in November and the Hindujas have concluded the USD 1-billon Houghton today.

Q: What were the game-changers this year?

A: The game changers this year were some very significant deals like the Hinduja deal, the Diageo deal with United Spirits Limited (USL) and the Aditya Birla-Future merger which has created another retail giant.

Q: The increase in investor interest from Japan has been interesting. What is the status of Japanese investor-interest for 2013?

A: I think there is a lot of interest from Japanese companies in India which is clearly driven by the weak Japanese market and the lack of investment opportunities in the country. But I also think that Japan is looking at India much more carefully and wants to increase its economic engagement with India.

The Japanese interest is in the sectors such as technology and industries and Japanese companies have begun to take minority stakes which is not usual among Japanese companies.

I estimate that if the economic fundamentals are favourable and direction is right, I would expect 2013 to be lot better than 2012 both in terms of volumes and values. And as usual I hope the trend of hostile takeovers continues in the Indian market.

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