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中国对“一带一路”沿线国家投资猛增

Reuters 2017年08月21日

尽管中国政府对胃口大开的综合集团加以约束以限制资本外流,但中国公司在“一带一路”沿线国家的并购仍在高歌猛进。


汤森路透的数据显示,截至本周一,在68个正式加入“一带一路”倡议的国家,中国公司的收购总金额已达到330亿美元,超过2016年全年310亿美元的水平。

“一带一路”倡议由中国国家主席习近平于2013年提出,目的是建设现代“丝绸之路”,从路上和海上将中国、东南亚、巴基斯坦、中亚、中东以及欧洲和非洲连接起来。

在今年5月的一次峰会上,习近平主席承诺将为“一带一路”投入1240亿美元。但对于中国政府表露出的共创繁荣意愿,西方资本一直怀疑此举更多的是为了确立中国的影响力。

汤森路透的数据同时表明,截至上周一,中国的整体对外并购规模比上年同期下降42%,而中国公司在“一带一路”沿线的并购相关投资出现了大幅增长。

为保持人民币汇率稳定,中国政府对资本外流加以限制。同时,为确保金融稳定,中国政府还对负债收购严加约束,从而加大了收购方争取海外并购获批的难度。

6月份以来监管部门一直在加大管控力度,它们不仅仔细审核并购协议,还要求一批贷款机构评估海航、万达和复星等几家公司大张旗鼓的海外收购所带来的风险。

监管部门更严格地审核海外并购前,中国公司在2016年为购买海外资产投入了2200亿美元资金,创历史新高,而且它们的收购无所不包,既有电影制作公司,也有欧洲足球俱乐部。

但严格审核并未影响中国公司在“一带一路”沿线追逐收购目标,原因是这被视为企业和中国经济的战略性投资。

律师事务所Herbert Smith Freehills合伙人、公司和商业律师希勒里·刘说:“对一带一路国家投资时,人们采用的是长期思维模式。”

他认为:“这些收购还受到了政策推动。资金则是中国银行以及政府基金为一带一路并购划拨出来的。”

汤森路透数据显示,今年中国公司的“一带一路”收购目标已有109个,而2015和2016年全年的收购交易数量分别为134个和175个。

审批程序

据律师和并购参与者介绍,“一带一路”沿线并购项目的审批较为顺利,原因是监管部门在审核对外投资时往往把它们单独划为一组。

一家中国公司的一位高级投资顾问称,“如果做的是一带一路项目”,在提交给监管部门的“文件里,第一句话就要点明”。这家中国公司已经多次并购海外企业。

“早早地指出这一点是明智之举。”由于未获得接收媒体采访授权,这位顾问要求不透露其身份。

今年初以来,在“一带一路”国家实施的最大并购是一中国财团斥资116亿美元整体收购新加坡仓储物流公司普洛斯。

其他规模较大的并购包括中石油以18亿美元的价格买下阿布扎比一家石油公司8%的股权,以及海航斥资10亿美元收购物流公司CWT Ltd,后一项并购尚未完成。

中国国家外汇管理局本月表示,仍鼓励国内公司参与“一带一路”活动。

受资本外流限制影响,海航至少已有两笔海外收购遇到了障碍。该公司称,计划优先投资于“一带一路”倡议囊括的行业和地区。

史密夫律师事务所律师希勒里·刘指出,“一带一路”沿线收购主要集中在能源和基础设施领域。

他说:“最近我们在印尼、马来西亚和缅甸看到了许多并购活动。整个斯里兰卡、印度和孟加拉走廊也是热点地区,因为它连接着东方和西方。”(财富中文网)

译者:Charlie

审稿:夏林

Chinese acquisitions in the 68 countries officially linked to President Xi Jinping's signature foreign policy totalled $33 billion as of Monday, surpassing the $31 billion tally for all of 2016, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Unveiled in 2013, the Belt and Road project is aimed at building a modern-day "Silk Road", connecting China by land and sea to Southeast Asia, Pakistan and Central Asia, and beyond to the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

At a summit in May, Xi pledged $124 billion for the plan, but it has faced suspicion in Western capitals that it is intended more to assert Chinese influence than Beijing's professed desire to spread prosperity.

The surge in Chinese companies' acquisition-linked investments in the Belt and Road corridor comes as the volume of all outbound mergers and acquisitions from China has dropped 42 percent year-on-year as of Monday, the Thomson Reuters data showed.

Beijing's move to prop up the yuan by restricting the flow of capital outside the country and clamp down on debt-fuelled acquisitions to ensure financial stability has made it tougher for buyers to win approvals for deals abroad.

Regulators have tightened the screws further since June, reviewing deal agreements in minute detail and ordering a group of lenders to assess their exposure to offshore acquisitions by several big companies that have been on overseas buying sprees, including HNA Group, Dalian Wanda Group and Fosun Group.

The heightened regulatory scrutiny of overseas acquisitions comes after companies spent a record $220 billion in 2016 on assets overseas, buying up everything from movie studios to European football clubs.

The scrutiny, however, has not impacted Chinese companies' pursuit of targets along the Belt and Road corridor, as those investments are considered strategic for the companies as well as the Chinese economy.

"People are thinking in a long-term approach when making investments along Belt and Road countries," said Hilary Lau, a corporate and commercial lawyer and partner at the law firm Herbert Smith Freehills.

"The acquisitions are also policy-driven. There are funds allocated by Chinese banks and state funds for Belt and Road deals," he said.

The number of Chinese deals targeting Belt and Road countries totalled 109 this year, compared to 175 in the whole of last year and 134 in 2015, the Thomson Reuters data showed.

Approval Process

Companies enjoy a relatively smooth approval process for deals along the Belt and Road project as regulators tend to put them in a different basket when reviewing outbound investments, according to lawyers and dealmakers.

"If you are doing One Belt, One Road, that becomes the first sentence in the document" to the regulators, said a senior investment advisor at a Chinese company that has acquired several overseas businesses.

"It is a wise thing to point out early on," said the advisor, who requested anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

The largest deal in a Belt and Road country so far this year was a Chinese consortium's $11.6 billion buyout of the Singapore-based Global Logistics Properties.

Other top deals include the $1.8 billion purchase of an 8 percent ownership interest in an Abu Dhabi oil company by the state-owned oil giant China National Petroleum Corp, and HNA Group's $1 billion acquisition of a logistics company, CWT Ltd, which has not yet closed.

The State Administration of Foreign Exchange, China's foreign exchange regulator, said this month that domestic companies would still be encouraged to participate in Belt and Road activities.

HNA, which has seen at least two overseas deals hit a hurdle as a result of the crackdown on transferring money, has said it plans to prioritize investments that are in industries and regions mapped out under the Belt and Road initiative.

The belt and road acquisitions are predominantly in energy and infrastructure sectors, said Hilary Lau of Herbert Smith Freehills.

"We've seen a lot of activities recently in Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar. The whole Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh corridor is also hot as it's connecting the East and West," he said.

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