SINGAPORE (Dec 12): Singapore has seen the value of mergers and acquisitions (M&A), private equity and venture capital investments, and initial public offerings (IPO) hit US$101.9 billion ($137.7 billion) for 2017, growing over 15% compared to 2016.

Private equities led the buyouts, with PE/VC investment hitting record levels at US$22.8 billion in 2017, compared to US$3.5 billion a year ago. This was driven mainly by investments in 2H2017 such as the acquisition of Global Logistic Properties by China Vanke, Hopu Investment Management and other investors for US$11.6 billion.

Outbound deals continue to drive Singapore’s M&A deal value, with the bulk of the deal value coming from 357 outbound deals worth US$54.6 billion, or 72% of the total deal value for 2017.

Real estate continues to be the top sector since 2016, contributing to about 35% of the deal value and 25.8% of the deal volume in Singapore.

Real estate, technology and healthcare accounted for 70% of total deal values in Singapore for 2017.

The Singapore IPO market has also seen a four-year high, with 19 IPOs raising US$3.5 billion on the Singapore Exchange, compared to 16 IPOs in 2016 raising US$1.9 billion.

The increase was led by the listing of Netlink NBN Trust, which raised US$1.7 billion for their IPO.

“It is encouraging to see the transaction values in the region tower over the historic highs in 2015. We are witnessing the lines between the M&A and PE/VC investments blur and notice that several transactions could fall in either category, as strategic investors make minority investments and financial investors take controlling stakes,” says Srividya Gopalakrishnan, managing director of Duff & Phelps, in a statement.

While delistings and privatisations are outpacing IPOs, Gopalakrishnan believes that these are not competitors to IPOs but are merely part of the investment cycle.

“There are some things you can do as a public company; there are some things you can’t do as a public company. You can’t aggressively grow the company due to compliance, et cetera. Then you get taken private to be grown and listed again at a higher valuation,” Gopalakrishnan says.

“They keep creating value and increasing value for shareholders, this is the norm today for an investment cycle for any company,” she adds.