New Delhi - Despite the 2019 general elections, almost 56% of Indian business leaders are more interested in overseas dealmaking in the coming 12 months than they were in the past year, a survey said.
According to Baker McKenzie's Doing Business Globally survey, while only 11% are less interested, almost 33% of business leaders have the same level of interest.
The survey said while Indian businesses are primarily looking for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) opportunities domestically (42%), a quarter of respondents said the wider Asia Pacific region is their top target, with 16% looking to North America.
"This is something of a shift, as North America has until recently been a firm favourite for Indian companies looking to buy abroad, less so Asia Pacific," it noted.
The views were gathered as part of the survey of Indian business leaders at events in Bengaluru and Mumbai where more than 200 of India's top business people were surveyed on their dealmaking sentiments as well as the impact technology was having on their decision making.
"In fact, technology was clearly a key driver of India M&A deals abroad, with 38 per cent of Indian companies now saying that acquiring new tech and expertise was their number one reason for engaging in cross-border M&A," said the survey.
Gary Seib, Baker McKenzie Asia Pacific Chair, said: "While this positivity around global dealmaking is great to see, it is particularly encouraging that India's ambitions are also shifting a little closer to home."
"While Indian corporates have traditionally looked to the US and Europe for M&A opportunities, including buying up high status brands and industrial and financial companies, many now also see the value on offer in Asia Pacific, particularly as different markets incubate their own technologies, and supply chains across the region can be readily built," he added.
Baker McKenzie also assessed recent initial public offering (IPO) trends amongst Indian companies and announced transactions likely to close in 2018, to provide a detailed picture of India's IPO market.
"In fact, capital raised YTD (year-to-date) in 2018 is almost 400% the amount raised in the same period in 2017. By mid-April last year, there were only 40 IPOs that raised $619 million, compared with more than $3 billion raised through 71 listings in 2018 so far," it said.
The survey pointed out that if pipeline deals move forward for the rest of 2018, the total value of IPOs will be 34% higher than the capital raised in 2017, although there is likely to be a slight drop in the number of deals completed.
"There is a strong sentiment amongst the Indian clients we speak to that while reforms have taken time and there have been a few other hiccups, the business community is quite bullish on the direction of India," said Ashok Lalwani, Global Head of Baker McKenzie's India Practice.
"While the election will throw up some uncertainty, this newfound confidence means Indian businesses will continue to seek out opportunities to grow, particularly through investments in new and complementary technologies," he said.
The survey highlighted that all Indian exchanges are set to have their best performing year for seven years with $12.4 billion set to be raised in 68 IPOs through dual listings on both the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and National Stock Exchange (NSE).
"...while listing solely on the BSE are set to raise almost $2.8 billion and those listing solely on the NSE are set to raise $487 million," it added.