New Delhi, Apr 13 (PTI) Corporate India announced mergers and acquisitions worth USD 1.5 billion in March, taking the deal tally for the first quarter of 2018 to USD 18.53 billion, says a report.

According to assurance, tax and advisory firm Grant Thornton, March saw 31 M&A deals worth USD 1,499 million, down 92 per cent in value terms from the year-ago month when deals worth USD 23,822 million were announced by way of 28 such transactions.

The January-March period saw 118 deals worth USD 18,529 million, while the same quarter last year witnessed 105 merger and acquisition (M&A) deals worth USD 27,477 million.

Barring the USD 23 billion Vodafone-Idea merger announced in first quarter of 2017, January-March quarter this year witnessed 2.3 times increase in deal values.

During the quarter, domestic M&A values recorded a whopping 5.3 times increase year-on-year on the back of three billion-dollar deals which contributed to 67 per cent of total M&A values. Cross-border deal activity also bounced backed in the quarter with 85 per cent increase in the deal values compared to January-March 2017.

“Active deal making by domestic companies and continued interest of PE investors in real estate and natural resources and energy sector maintained the upbeat in deal activity in the first quarter of this year,” said Pankaj Chopda Director at Grant Thornton India LLP.

Big ticket domestic acquisitions in oil and gas, power and telecom sectors were driven by underlying objective to create sizeable assets to compete in global and domestic markets, marking entry into new business verticals by buying large stressed assets and strengthening delivery capabilities, Chopda said.

Going forward the deal outlook looks bullish.

“Big ticket transactions arising due to anticipated closure of insolvency proceedings, increased acquisitions to improve technical edge, improving customer experience and increasing products offering are expected to be the trends in M&A,” he added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.