More M&As on tap for 2013

Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) look set to increase this year as stable politics, robust economic growth prospects and the recent bullish stock market attract investors interested in expanding their business.

Saranya Krasaesian, deputy managing director of Sage Capital Ltd, yesterday said the company is serving as a financial adviser for 10 M&As involving both listed and non-listed companies.

The deals in the company's pipeline run the gamut _ inbound, outbound and domestic, she said.

Mrs Saranya said investors from Asia, Europe and the US are interested in pouring money into Thailand, as the Thai stock market's price-to-earnings ratio is better than those of other regional bourses and the country's economic growth remains solid.

"Our focus right now is on being a financial adviser for M&As and investment. Our customers include Thai firms, foreign funds and offshore companies," she said.

The SET index has risen by 10.9% year-to-date, although sell-offs were extended for a third straight day yesterday.

The benchmark index plunged 1.57% yesterday to close at 1,543.67 points in trade worth 83.7 billion baht on concern about the baht's rapid strengthening to levels unseen since the currency was floated in July 1997.

Sage Capital is the financial adviser to two companies seeking listings on the Stock Exchange of Thailand and the Market for Alternative Investment.

PTG Energy Plc is seeking approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission to list on the main bourse, while another energy firm will submit a filing to the securities watchdog this month.

Nimit Wongjariyakul, the executive director of Capital Nomura Securities, agreed that M&As are on an upswing this year.

More foreign investors, particularly Japanese, are taking a closer look at Thailand, he said.

Japan's stagnant economy is prompting more of that country's industrialists to move their production base to elsewhere in Asia including Thailand, said Mr Nimit.