M&A scene vibrant amid confidence in economic momentum — ING Bank

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THE business sector is bullish on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) across a range of sectors because it is confident in continued growth, making transport, utilities and telecoms particularly attractive, ING Bank N.V. said.

ING Bank Manila’s Managing Director Hans B. Sicat, the Dutch group’s country head in the Philippines, said: “What we see among the conglomerates is really the attempt to expand (in) certain other operations… in other sectors. So that goes from everything from the power sector to the telecom… all these little activities from data providers to cable operators,” he said in an interview with BusinessWorld.

Mr. Sicat added that “everyone is betting on” infrastructure due to the government’s Build, Build, Build program.

“That goes into trying to be involved in (transport)… the road projects, of course, and we are seeing interest now in airports.”

He also noted that the bank has observed more interest in logistics businesses.

“That industry, by the way, is highly fragmented. Some are trying to buy and consolidate different parts… and some are trying to build higher-level, more integrated logistics centers,” he said.

ING entered the Philippine market in 1990 as a wholesale lender.

In 2019, the group unveiled its retail offering in the form of an all-online digital bank. Mr. Sicat said the online bank’s depositors are currently in the six digits.

ING Bank-Manila’s assets at the end of 2018 amounted to P24.15 billion, making it the 30th biggest commercial bank in the Philippines. — Luz Wendy T. Noble