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Daily Dispatches – hungry again for deals

Corporate weddings back in fashion (image: Clker.com)

Corporate weddings back in fashion (image: Clker.com)

Singapore’s Business Times says the global appetite for mergers and acquisitions is up on last year, according to the last KPMG report, but it warns that confidence remains tempered by the US Federal Reserve’s programme of easy money injections into the economy.

This is potentially good news for Singapore, with the paper reporting that year-on-year forward price earnings ratios have risen 13%, according to key findings in KPMG’s latest M&A Predictor, which looks at the appetite and capacity for M&A deals of the world’s 1,000 largest companies by tracking and projecting important indicators.

However, it noted that forward PE ratios over the past six months, however, had been stagnant since the start of the calendar year.

Vishal Sharma, KPMG’s head of M&A for the Asia-Pacific region told Business Times that, “…despite several years of forecast growth in capacity, market confidence is clearly still hampered by macroeconomic factors affecting corporates in Europe and the US. These also have a knock-on effect in Asia, particularly Singapore.”

Nowhere to hide

Legal experts in Australia say company directors need to be vigilant about shareholder activism to unseat them as they may not be able to get professional liability insurance to cover them against this possibility.

The Asian Insurance Review reports that law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth says Australian companies should be prepared for increased pressure from shareholders following a spike in shareholder activism globally, particularly in the US. Some US funds are now turning their attention to Australia where there is also an emergence of specialist Australian-based activist funds.

Directors and companies would have difficulties in insuring against shareholder activism as this activism did not necessarily imply breaches of the law being made against directors or companies.

Another day, another settlement

Reuters reports that the US power regulator has outlined its case of market manipulation against JPMorgan Chase & Co and a final settlement on the issue should come on today.

Officials said that JPMorgan traders used improper bidding tactics in California and the Midwest to boost profits. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found “eight manipulative bidding strategies” used by a JPM affiliate in 2010 and 2011.

JPMorgan is expected to pay around USD$400 million to end the investigation and the settlement could include other payments.

Turkish delight

Finance Asia reports that Malaysian company Khazanah has acquired 90% of Turkish health insurer Acibadem Saglik ve Hayart Sigorta for USD$252 million. It is the second largest health insurer in Turkey.

The deal represents the largest investment  in a Turkish financial institution by a South East Asian firm.

Bye-bye Bernardo

RBS has lost another senior employee with the departure of Singapore-based Rogerio Bernardo who has resigned from the debt syndicate division. He was with RBS for 16 years.

A One gets an F

Asian Investor reports that Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission has fined A One Investment Company USD$155000 for internal control failures relating to unauthorised sales of client securities and the unauthorised transfer of about USD$1 million of client funds to third-party accounts.

A One’s responsible officer Alysia Lee has also been suspended for eight months

Wine not

Looking for an alternative investment? How about stockpiling popular Burgundy wines, given that supply is about to be severely curtailed?

Bloomberg reports that recent hail damage to Burgundy’s wine region may cut the 2013 vintage by four million bottles.

Potential losses amount to about 15% of the 27 million bottles produced in Cote de Beaune in 2011.

Burgundy production fell last year on a combination of late frost, hail, disease and poor fruit set. The region has France’s most expensive wine real estate, with some grand cru properties fetching 3.8 million euros (USD$5 million) a hectare.

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