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KPMG: Broaden horizons on M&As overseas

By Du Juan  (China Daily)

17:57, June 04, 2013

Chinese companies pursuing overseas expansion should widen their search for mergers and opportunities in Europe in sectors such as agriculture and design, said accounting firm KPMG.

As the world's largest energy consumer's appetite for resources grows, China's natural resource M&As have been growing in recent years, especially in North American oil and gas reserves.

However, there are still many good opportunities in Europe, which is worth attention from Chinese buyers, said Peter Fung, global chairman of KPMG's Global China Practice.

"The first group of Chinese companies to go overseas was mainly energy and resources companies and the second group is private investors in the manufacturing industry," Fung said.

"It will be a trend in the future that an increasing number of Chinese companies will look for business opportunities in other industries such as consumer goods and agriculture as domestic demand continues to grow."

As China's middle class grows rapidly, demand for products with advanced and modern designs will increase. Chinese consumers are fonder of European-style household items.

"In northern Europe, countries such as Denmark and Sweden are well-known for their characteristic designs," said Fung. "Chinese companies, especially private investors, should look for more chances for M&As or cooperation with design companies in those countries, which will be mutually beneficial."

Another sector which will attract more Chinese investors is modern agriculture and food, he said.

"As China attaches more importance to food security, the growing demand for better quality food products including milk and meat will lead to increasing outbound M&As in the sector," Fung said.

He said the Australian and New Zealand governments are discussing actively with local officials and companies how to promote diversified cooperation with Chinese companies based on their advanced agriculture industries.

On March 15, Shandong Ruyi Group, one of the top 10 textile companies in China, completed its acquisition of the Cubbie Station farm, Australia's biggest cotton producer, for A$230 million ($235 million).

The deal will help China improve the stability and quality of its cotton supplies.

According to a recent survey of around 40 top Chinese private companies' leaders, around half of them expressed an interest in modern agriculture and real estate investment opportunities abroad.

In the following three years, the top three targets for global M&A opportunities will be telecom technology, consumer goods and medical treatment, according to the survey.

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