Slowdown of UK Investment in Chinese Acquisitions; EMERGING MARKETS

The Birmingham Post (England), May 14, 2008 | Go to article overview

Slowdown of UK Investment in Chinese Acquisitions; EMERGING MARKETS


UK businesses are shunning merger and acquisition (M&A) deals in China in the first quarter, according to the latest analysis by Grant Thornton Corporate Finance in Birmingham.

The lack of activity has seen the UK drop out of the top ten acquirer nations for the first time since 2000.

During the quarter UK businesses completed just eight deals in China, worth pounds 25 million. The US completed 39 deals, worth almost pounds 350 million.

Singapore announced 29 deals worth pounds 156 million, and rounding out the top ten were nations as diverse as South Korea, Switzerland and Canada.

In 2007, the US announced pounds 2.39 billion worth of deals in China, compared with just pounds 213 million by UK firms. Foreign firms announced pounds 11.39 billion worth of M&A deals last year.

Mark Audin, corporate finance director at Grant Thornton in Birmingham, said while the US remained consistently active, UK businesses were often placing China in the "too hard" category.

"The world is focused on China and the opportunities it offers. While the Chinese economy is remarkably more developed than a decade ago, it is still in almost every sense a developing nation, and therefore has huge growth potential for UK businesses willing to invest time, money and energy," he said.

But while the UK's activity has fallen, the announced purchase of a pounds 7.18 billion share in Rio Tinto by a Chinese-owned consortium means China was the most active foreign buyer in the UK last quarter. …

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