21 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – SEPTEMBER 2023 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM COVER STORY INDIA BUCKS TREND India was another market that bucked trends with the busiest-ever six months in terms of the number of deals announced, with an increase of 5 percent in H1 2023, according to Refinitiv. However, Refinitiv says that while deal volumes were up, deal values slumped and there were few large deals. PwC, another Big Four accountancy and consulting firm, expects the latter half of 2023 to remain active in India from a dealmaking perspective on the back of a strong economic growth outlook, a stable business environment and interest in the country’s startup ecosystem. In terms of equity issuance, Refinitiv says India enjoyed growth of 14 percent to $10 billion in H1 2023. There are several factors that are working in India’s favour and driving interest from the foreign investment community. As economic growth slows in developed nations, a weaker export scenario is being offset by strong domestic demand. SMALLER MARKETS SHINE Smaller markets like Thailand and Vietnam have experienced an increase in M&A activity, pushing the number of Southeast Asian deals up 4 percent yearon-year. This was one of the few regions in the world to experience growth in the first half of 2023. PwC expects Thailand’s M&A activity to recover further in the second half of this year, after several businesses that had paused M&A activities due to an economic slowdown, inflation and geopolitical concerns return to the market. Meanwhile, Vietnamese electric SUV manufacturer, VinFast Auto’s US$27 billion reverse U.S. listing was the big talking point this year as it is the biggest Vietnamese M&A deal in history. AUSTRALIA: LAND OF TWO TALES Dealmakers down under faced a unique situation with falling home-grown activity but rapidly rising foreign deals. “This year has also been a strong for equity issuances in Japan, with $17 billion being raised in the first six months of 2023. This figure is a four-fold rise from the year before and a five-year high for the country.”