Also, buyers from Singapore completed the largest number of transactions as Indonesia witnessed a record year for M&A activity.The 12-month M&A activity for Indonesia ended 31 Jan, 2012, saw 78 transactions worth a total of US$9 billion being recorded, with Singapore-based companies completing nine transactions worth US$372 million, according to global risk management company Kroll and M&A intelligence service mergermarket.
The nine transactions completed by Singapore-based buyers were in a diverse range of industries, highlighting the investment potential in Indonesia. Two transactions were in the energy sector, the rest of the deals were in transportation, consumer food, real estate, construction, financial services, internet and e-commerce, and in other services.
Japan was the most prominent country in the South-east Asian nation’s M&A activity in terms of value and volume, with US$1.1 billion across six deals. The largest Japanese transaction of the year was Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance’s US$827 million, 50% stake acquisition in life insurance provider PT Asuransi Jiwa Sinarmas (Sinarmas Life Insurance), according to the report.
Deals by Asia-Pacific buyers accounted for 72% \of Indonesia’s M&A deal count while 28% of bidders were from outside Asia, with US bidders completing the most transactions,
Indonesia is expected to see continued strong M&A activity, particularly in the technology, media and telecommunications, financial services, energy and mining & utilities sectors.
But there are problems as highlighted by a corporate governance spat: Indonesian tycoons versus Nat Rothschild.
“Investing in emerging markets is always challenging for investors. Indonesia in particular requires deep local insight into the market and potential target companies, as various reforms continue to raise both opportunities and challenges for potential bidders,” said Kroll.
“Many investors interested in Indonesia tend to seek help from local third-party advisers or partners to assist with administrative functions during a transaction. However these intermediaries may not necessarily have sufficient understanding of global anti-corruption legislation. Overlooking such legislation can lead to costly violations for investors in their home markets … investors also need to be aware of other operational pitfalls that may impact their business such as the state of local infrastructure and the integrity of business partners. These risks often vary according to sector.”
Strikes could also be a problem http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17175833 despite the consumer boom.
Its booming economy also masks its problems with politcal governance and corruption. This is what ISEAS* says about the country in its inaugral ASEAN Monitor dated February 2012
Indonesia is in a period defined simultaneously by stasis and stability. It has yet to move into the next phase of its democratic consolidation, and it is unlikely to do so in 2012.
In fact, several indicators suggest an overall deterioration in earlier democratic achievements. First, the country’s judiciary and police are — and most likely will remain — notoriouslyunpredictable in upholding the rule oflaw. Second, large sections of the bureaucracy are in disarray; they will continue to perform poorly for theforeseeable future. Third, Indonesia’s main political parties have fallen increasingly into internal turmoil over positions of influence and finances.
Those problems and frictions are boundto persist in several important parties in the coming months.
Externally, Indonesia is expected continue playing a fairly minor role despite being the dominant power inSoutheast Asia. This is largely because of the strong emphasis on purely domestic political issues. As the next generalelection and the presidential electionapproach in 2014, all of Indonesia’s political parties will become increasinglypreoccupied with preparations for the polls and the selection of candidates. It must be remembered that an anti-porn bill was introduced in 2008, just before the general election the following year.
The coming months will tell if there is to be a similar populist legislative measure to win conservative votes this time. Overall, it is unlikely that Indonesia’s status as a stable yet static democracy will change substantially during 2012.
Key points: The current consumer boom in Indonesia will continue to mask its problems with corruption. And though Indonesia is less likely to be adversely affected by a global economic slowdownthan other regional countries, will global risk aversion stem the investment inflows it has enjoyed in recent years?——–
*”The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies is a regional research centre dedicated to the study of socio-political, security and economic trends and developments in Southeast Asia and its wider geostrategic and economic environment”. It is also a statutory board whose funding comes from the S’pore government.