When Cosco Shipping International (Singapore) announced its intention to buy Cogent Holdings, the deal made not only great practical sense, but also served to underline the speed with which the Belt and Road Initiative has become an integral part of the financial and commercial world.
The initiative was surely invented for deals like this one. Cogent has been around since the 1960s, developing from a point-to-point cargo transportation firm with a small fleet of trucks into Singapore’s leading full-service integrated logistics service provider, offering transportation management services, warehousing and container depot management services across southeast Asia.
To Cosco, China’s largest shipping group and a global top-10 logistics firm with a fleet of more than 1,100 ships, the deal allowed it to more deeply embed itself in one of the world’s fastest-growing regions, to tap new BRI-connected business opportunities and to secure access to Cogent’s state-of-the-art logistics hub.
Cosco made its bid in November 2017; within four months, it was completed and approved, the mainland firm buying Cogent for S$1.02 ($0.75) per share in cash, valuing the target at S$545 million.
The deal was an all-round success for Credit Suisse, which acted as exclusive financial adviser to Cogent Holdings. It also further bolstered the bank’s position as a leading M&A adviser in southeast Asia, led by Rehan Anwer, head of frontier markets, investment banking and capital markets, and pointed to a more specific success story: its integral role in a host of recent big-ticket Sino-Singaporean M&A deals. The Swiss institution has advised on $36 billion-worth of Singapore-related public offers since 2012, according to Dealogic, more than any other investment bank.