Deals and IPOs

Singapore corporates go on record M&A spree

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Singaporean companies went on a record-setting merger and acquisition (M&A) spree in the first-half, with deal volume surging to $40 billion, more than double the $17.3 billion recorded in the same period in 2013, according to Dealogic.

The top three destinations for outbound M&A were Hong Kong, Australia and Brazil, accounting for $10.8 billion, $5.7 billion and $2.2 billion in volume, respectively.

"The surge in M&A has been driven by a few factors - firstly, the improving macroeconomic environment, which is leading to increased confidence amongst corporates," said Srividya Gopalakrishnan, managing director of consulting firm American Appraisal Singapore.

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"Moreover, Singapore companies are looking towards more inorganic growth as the domestic market itself is small. In addition, the country's sovereign wealth funds have been fairly active on the M&A side which has pushed up deal activity," she said.

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Real estate was the most targeted sector by Singaporean acquirers, with three of the top five largest acquisitions so far this year coming from the space.

Singapore-listed Frasers Centrepoint's pending $3.5 billion acquisition of Australand Property Group, one of Australia's biggest property groups, is in line to be the city state's largest outbound real estate M&A deal on record.

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The retail and finance sectors were also hot spots for M&A, with state investor Temasek Holdings' $5.7 billion acquisition of health and beauty retailer AS Watson Holdings and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp's (OCBC) $5.0 billion pending bid for Wing Hang Bank.

Global M&A frenzy

M&A activity has been on the rise across the world, with global volume up 35 percent on year at $1.75 trillion in the first six months of the year - the highest first-half volume since 2007.

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Healthcare and technology have been the most active industries in deal-making, with Facebook's $19.4 billion bid for WhatsApp in February 2014, for example.

Deals valued over $10 billion totaled 13 at $368.2 billion in the second quarter, almost five times the $74.1 billion announced in the same period last year.