Gd summary from FT on Japan’s reemergence in region
China’s slowdown and the prospect of less easy US money have sent a chill through southeast Asia. Benchmark indices in Jakarta, Bangkok and Manila have lost almost half of the one-fifth gains they had made this year to mid-May. The real economy is weakening, too. Last week the Bank of Thailand cut its growth forecast below 5 per cent and recent comments from Bank Indonesia suggest it accepts growth will slip below 6 per cent. Hardly a disaster then, but nor is it what these countries or their followers are used to. Enter Japan and, crucially, its direct investment. In terms of trading with the region, Japan’s significance has slipped over the past decade as its economy stagnated, but at a shade over $200bn it commands the same share as China. Its FDI of $60bn into the region over that period, however, is 10-times greater than its giant neighbour, according to HSBC. Japan is either the largest or second-largest investor in each country.
During the past two months, Japanese banks and insurers have spent almost $6bn buying stakes in their southeast Asian counterparts. More deals are expected as they try to escape a weak and ageing home market.
Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co is expected to acquire a 15% stake in Thai Life Insurance Co. in what would be one of the biggest investments ever in Asia by a Japanese life insurer With the planned investment worth about ¥70 bn (US%700bn), Meiji Yasuda wants to make the major Thai insurer into an equity-method affiliate and dispatch executives, the sources said.
Like other Japanese insurers, Meiji Yasuda is looking to expand overseas earnings, especially in Asia, amid sluggish business at home due to the aging of society.
Sumitomo Life Insurance Co. has made a ¥28 bn investment in Vietnam’s top insurance group, while Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. in June announced a ¥34.3 bn investment in Indonesia. Sumitimo which lost out to Yasuda is now looking to Indonesia where Bank Negara is looking to sell up to 40% of its life business for up to $800m, according to the FT.
Japanese banks have been active too. http://atans1.wordpress.com/?s=Mitsubishi
Low labour costs and Cambodia’s proximity to key markets such as China and other emerging economies in South East Asia are attractive to foreign investors.
And with wages in countries such as Thailand and China on the rise, Cambodia is likely to become even more attractive.
Vietnam R private equity