|Choosing Vietnam: All about trusting the data for American entrepreneur|
|Friday, Feb 12, 2021,15:20 (GMT+7)|
The Hanoitimes – Covid-19 accelerates deals activity for digital and technology assets in a highly competitive market.
While the market has adopted a cautious approach so far, Vietnam’s M&A activity is in a strong position for recovery as the country started 2021 with a positive economic outlook.
Ong Tiong Hooi, Partner of Transaction Services, PwC Vietnam gave his assessment following the launch of PwC’s latest Global M&A Industry Trends analysis.
|Global Deal Volumes and Values.|
Covering the last six months of 2020, the analysis examines global deals activity and incorporates insights from PwC’s deals industry specialists to identify the key trends driving M&A activity, and anticipated investment hotspots in 2021.
In spite of the uncertainty created by Covid-19, the second half of 2020 saw a surge in M&A activity.
Deal-making jumped in the second half of the year with total global deal volumes and values increasing by 18% and 94%, respectively compared to the first half of the year. In addition, both deal volumes and deal values increased compared to the last six months of 2019.
The technology and telecom sub-sectors saw the highest growth in deal volumes and values in the second half of 2020, with technology deal volumes up 34% and values up 118%. Telecom deal volumes were up 15% and values significantly rose by almost 300% due to three telecom megadeals.
|Deal Volume and Value in Asia Pacific.|
On a regional basis, deal volumes increased by 20% in the Americas, 17% in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and 17% in Asia Pacific between the first and second half of 2020. The Americas saw the biggest growth in deal values of over 200%, primarily due to some significant megadeals in the second half of the year.
“Reflecting the global trend, the Vietnam M&A landscape is likely to remain active this year,” stated Mr. Ong.
“Furthermore, pent-up demand is likely to kick in as investor and consumer confidence increases in light of the news on the Covid-19 vaccine development,” he noted.
Sharing the view, Brian Levy, PwC’s Global Deals Industries Leader said Covid-19 gave companies a rare glimpse into their future.
“An acceleration of digitalization and transformation of their businesses instantly became a top priority, with M&A the fastest way to make that happen — creating a highly competitive landscape for the right deals,” stated Mr. Levy.
Mr. Ong Tiong Hooi commented: “The new circumstances and challenges caused by Covid-19 have created particular demand and opportunities for digital services and the underlying technology that help our societies and businesses function. Thus, the ongoing acceleration of all things digital has become essential across industries. And it is at the speed that demand has grown favors a buy-versus-build strategy for many companies. This increases the competition to acquire the necessary business infrastructure and forces premium valuations.”
By comparison, assets in sectors that have been hardest hit by the pandemic like industrial manufacturing or those being shaped by factors such as the transformation to net zero carbon emissions are creating structural changes that companies will need to address. Where the future viability of their business models is challenged, companies may look to distressed M&A opportunities or restructuring to preserve value.
Deal makers turn to non-traditional sources
Non-traditional sources of value creation such as the impact of environmental, social and governance factors (ESG) are increasingly being considered by deal makers and factored into strategic decision-making and due diligence, as they focus on protecting and maximizing returns from high valuations and fierce demand.
Last year, the combined M&A transaction value in Vietnam was estimated to decline by 51.4% year-on-year to US$3.5 billion. A strong economic rebound in 2021 could help M&A activities in Vietnam recover from mid-2021 and take the market size to the pre-Covid-19 level of around US$5 billion per year.
The Hanoitimes – Open data access from satellites and smartphones will build record of environmental change.
The Mekong River’s murky brown water has never hidden the threats from climate change, upstream hydropower dams, sediment starvation, and water level flows. But now a new Mekong Dams Monitor (MDM), bolstered by the Stimson Center’s Mekong Infrastructure Tracker, promises to add needed transparency to observe these ecological problems.
|Mekong River: Source: James Borton and Nguyen Minh Quang|
For nearly three decades, China has been building dams at breakneck speed on the upper Mekong reaches, alarming countries downstream over the threat of Beijing’s control of the water flow.
These open-access database tools offer data visibility and operations monitoring in present and future development projects, especially focused on China’s hydropower dams, enabling the US government and its think tank partners the ability to pinpoint potential Chinese security threats and changes in foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows. For sure, 2020 has brought not only Covid-19 but also record droughts, posing a downstream humanitarian crisis.
The newly announced Monitor underscores the urgency for the adoption of science and technology in the form of remote sensing and satellite imagery directed at the reservoir levels at 13 dams along the river and an additional 15 tributary dams on the lower reaches. The collaborative project originates from the Stimson Center’s program Eyes on Earth Inc. a US research water consultancy and partly funded by the US State Department.
“Data and outputs published on Mekong Dam Monitor complement the ongoing research efforts of organizations in the Mekong, We hope to eventually pass leadership of the platform to collaborative partners in the region and establish lines of official collaboration with the Mekong River Commission,” claims Brian Eyler, a senior fellow at the Washington DC-based Stimson Center and author of Last Days of the Mighty Mekong .
The message behind these open-access database tools is that the US is encouraging the rise of voices and roles from civil society, i.e. grassroots geopolitical agents, who have the capacity and are able to peacefully, yet profoundly, undermine or challenge problematic foreign-owned development projects.
In addition, under the forces of today’s globalization 4.0, data and information appear to outweigh the non-renewable resources. The MDM, MIT and other Western-backed open-data platforms available in the Mekong region shed some light on how the U.S. and its partners are building diverse open sources of information that might constitute a bottom-up and true multi-stakeholder culture in the Mekong region. One question some may ask is in what ways the US agencies and think tanks use and assist international and local actors in employing these open-data platforms and for what purposes?
Broadly speaking, observation and promoting data visibility and transparency informs a localization policy – as part of the recent US Mekong policy. The key aim of this policy is to localize the US influence by supporting local actors to be proactive, more vocal and confident through “data visibility” and “training”. This is a non-confrontational approach that is highlighted in recent cooperation initiatives, including the Mekong-US Partnership.
|A field trip to Mekong River. Source: James Borton and Nguyen Minh Quang|
It is too early to evaluate the impacts of MDM, and other data-driven platforms in the Mekong region. However, these tools are believed to have a few weaknesses. First, given the traditional notion that state leads and all should follow, the accessibility to information in Mekong societies is different from the Western ones. Second, how to translate information from these data tools into simple languages understandable and interesting to the general audience and local peoples throughout the region remains unsettled. Third, data sources contributing to the tools might be questionable. Finally, as long as the information and dataset are widely recognized, they are not a reliable reference sources for policy-planning in the riparian governments.
Downstream in the Lower Mekong Delta, the Mekong Environment Forum in Can Tho, Vietnam has been engaging local farmers in citizen science or community-based science programs. The growth of grassroots participation in environmental issues, and in scientific research in general, has raised both local and international awareness of the transboundary ecosystem dangers.
MEF offers workshops that provide training in open access software for use in smartphones to address upstream environmental challenges. This is urgently needed since current science studies reveal that upstream dams are causing irreparable damage to the delta, altering fragile ecosystems and wrecking the livelihoods of the 2.3 million residents who farm along the Mekong river and the canals in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.
The internet and new technologies, such as mobile apps for gathering data in the field and cloud storage tools, have made it possible for non-scientists to participate in the production of data and scientific knowledge. Open Development Mekong, a project of the Washington D.C.-based East West Management Institute, as well as the Mekong Water Data Initiative (Mekong Water.org), a program under the umbrella of the U.S.-backed Lower Mekong initiative, are among a few citizen-science platforms working to increase public awareness of the transboundary impacts of Mekong hydropower dams and other environmental challenges.
Science studies, coupled with grassroots participation, empowers communities and provincial government officials with data highlights that upstream hydro-infrastructure developments impact basin flow regime biology, bed and bank stability, biodiversity, fish productivity and sediment and nutrient transport.
The short-term impact of MDM and other data platforms could encourage increasing voices and involvement of non-state actors, such as NGO and grassroots movements, in local green politics. They are on-the-ground sources of information contributing data to the platforms, and change agents representing the US influence. The recent cancelation of some Chinese-backed development projects in Thailand and Myanmar is a visible example of this impact.
It’s encouraging that across the Mekong region more citizen scientists are working to contribute field-based datasets back to various platforms and introducing new policy recommendations and initiatives for a better Mekong future.
With the rising tide of public access to science information and data transparency, the launch of MDM could facilitate the enabling environment of participatory culture in the Mekong sub region where local voices are heard and have the potential to challenge foreign-owned controversial projects.
James Borton is a senior writer who has reported Southeast Asia for several decades and is co-founder of the Mekong Environment Forum. Nguyen Minh Quang is a Lecturer at Can Tho University and a co-founder of the Mekong Environment Forum.
Disclaimer: The views expressed by James Borton and Nguyen Minh Quang are of their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Hanoitimes.
- ‘Moonlight’ wins award as best picture after Oscar flub
- 5 things to watch at this year’s Oscars bash
- Vietnam movie ‘Yellow Flowers’ to vie for Oscar’s Best Foreign Film
The two accountants involved in the embarrassing mix-up at Sunday’s Oscars will not be invited back to the show, a spokesperson for the Academy told AFP on Wednesday.
Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz were the two members of PricewaterhouseCoopers — the firm responsible for tallying and safeguarding Oscar votes and results — who were in charge of handing out the winning envelopes to presenters at the ceremony.
However a mix-up resulted in Cullinan handing Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway a duplicate of the best actress envelope — instead of the one that had “Moonlight” winning for best picture.
The screw-up marked the most embarrassing mistake in Oscars history, with the musical “La La Land” briefly declared the winner for best picture before organizers realized the flub.
Cullinan has come under scrutiny for reportedly tweeting during the ceremony, sending out a picture of Emma Stone, who won the best actress award for “La La Land,” minutes before handing Beatty the wrong envelope.
PricewaterhouseCoopers took the blame after the gala evening ended in chaos and said Cullinan was mortified by his mistake.
“He is very upset about this mistake. And it is also my mistake, our mistake and we all feel very bad,” Tim Ryan, PwC’s U.S. chairman, told trade magazine Variety .
The company had no immediate comment on Wednesday on the Academy’s decision to drop Cullinan and Ruiz from future shows.
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy president, told The New Yorker magazine that she was horrified as the disastrous ending to one of the most watched shows on television unfolded.
“I just thought, What? What? I looked out and I saw a member of Pricewaterhouse coming on the stage, and I was, like, Oh, no, what—what’s happening? What what WHAT? What could possibly…? ” she said. “And then I just thought, Oh, my God, how does this happen? How. Does. This. Happen.”
On night of high-scoring matches, United crushed Real Sociedad 4-0 in a game played in Turin because of COVID-19 restrictions between the UK and Spain with Bruno Fernandes scoring a brace for his side. Tottenham won 4-1 away against Austrian side Wolfsberg in the Puskas Arena in Budapest.
* Arsenal drew 1-1 in the “away” leg of their tie against Benfica, although the match was played in Rome. Arsenal fell behind against Benfica when Pizzi netted a penalty but Bukayo Saka levelled two minutes later.
* AC Milan were seconds away from victory in Belgrade but a stoppage-time header by substitute Milan Pavkov earned 10-man Red Star a 2-2 draw. Ajax secured a 2-1 win at Lille thanks to late goals by Dusan Tadic and Brian Brobbey after Timothy Weah had put the hosts in front.
* Young Boys led Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 with goals by Christian Fassnacht, Jordan Siebatcheu and Meschack Elia but Leverkusen stormed back to level with Patrik Schick twice on target. Siebatcheu struck again in the 89th minute to give Young Boys a 4-3 win.
*Olympiakos beat PSV Eindhoven 4-2 while Bruno Petkovic scored twice for Dinamo Zagreb in a 3-2 victory in Krasnodar. Leicester City were held to a 0-0 draw at Slavia Prague while Dynamo Kiev and Brugge drew 1-1.
* Molde and Hoffenheim shared six goals in a 3-3 draw while AS Roma eased to a 2-0 win at Braga with Edin Dzeko scoring early and Borja Mayoral striking late but fellow Italians Napoli suffered a 2-0 loss at Granada.
* Spain forwards Esther Gonzalez and Jennifer Hermoso scored five goals apiece as the visitors crushed Azerbaijan 13-0 to secure a place at the Women’s Euro 2022 tournament. The Women’s Euro, originally scheduled for this year but postponed by 12 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is scheduled to take place from July 6-31 2022.
* Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Raul Jimenez has returned to training after his recovery from an operation on his fractured skull but his return to the team will not be rushed, manager Nuno Espirito Santo said on Thursday. Jimenez was taken to hospital after a clash of heads with Arsenal defender David Luiz during a match in November and the club were initially not optimistic about the Mexican’s return to action this season.
* Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini has avoided a muscle injury after being forced off during his team’s Champions League defeat to Porto, the Serie A club announced on Thursday. The 36-year-old defender was replaced 35 minutes into the Turin club’s 2-1 last 16 first leg defeat in Portugal on Wednesday, but serious issues have been ruled out.
* The Finals of the Billie Jean King Cup, the revamped Fed Cup which was scheduled to be held in April in Budapest, has been postponed again due to COVID-19 protocols in Hungary, the International Tennis Federation said on Thursday. The inaugural 12-nation Finals was initially scheduled to be held in March last year before the pandemic forced authorities to put it back a year.
* World number one Novak Djokovic ended the dream run of Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev in the Australian Open semi-finals on Thursday to maintain his bid for a record-extending ninth title. The 33-year-old Serb, showing no ill effects from an abdomen injury sustained in the third round, overwhelmed the 114th-ranked Karatsev 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to reach his 28th Grand Slam final.
* Bayern Munich defender Benjamin Pavard has been quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19, the German champions said on Thursday.
* Japan’s Seiko Hashimoto, a woman who has competed in seven Olympics, said on Thursday she had been chosen as president of the Tokyo 2020 Organising committee.
* Fans wearing masks returned to the Australian Open on Thursday to take in the Grand Slam’s semi-finals after the completion of Melbourne’s five-day lockdown to contain an outbreak of COVID-19. Officials recorded no new cases of the novel coronavirus in Victoria state on Thursday, as Melbourne residents were released from social distancing restrictions.
* Naomi Osaka ended Serena Williams’ bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title in a storm of power hitting on Thursday, humbling the American great 6-3 6-4 to reach her second Australian Open final.
* Jennifer Brady ensured there would be an American in the Australian Open final after Serena Williams’ exit by downing Karolina Muchova 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the semi-finals on Thursday.