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Asia 100 2005: M&A changes landscape

M&A activity is changing the Asian banking landscape and the relative positions of banks in Euromoney’s rankings.



M&A activity is changing the Asian banking landscape and the relative positions of banks in Euromoney’s rankings. The merger, in October, of two Japanese banks, the Mitsubishi Tokyo Group and UFJ Holding, created Asia’s largest banking group. Asian banking assets are also attracting international interest from inside and outside the region.

Cross-border M&As have pushed foreign direct investment in Asian banking assets to near the $12 billion mark, as at October. This comes on top of the $6.6 billion invested in 2004. This investment is evident in the higher levels of shareholders’ equity at some banks, such as China’s Bank of Communications. Several of these investments have also triggered positive rating actions by Moody’s.

Faced with mature and intensively competitive markets at home, banks are looking overseas for growth. Most Asian economies are expected to grow at above-average rates. Asian banks have a particular interest in those markets that are geographically close and culturally similar. Non-Asian banks appear most interested in Asia’s large and fast-growing economies, with China representing the ultimate in both.

Not surprisingly, a preponderance of 2005’s $7.4 billion is targeted at China.

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