The total cumulative value of offshore M&A deals in 2015 grew 56% compared to the previous year, with average deal value topping highs not seen since 2007, according to a report released by offshore law firm Appleby.

According to the report, the total number of M&A deals reached 2,969 in 2015, a figure that represents an almost identical number as in 2014.

The latest edition of Offshore-i, the firm’s report which provides data and insight on merger and acquisition activity in major offshore financial centres, found that the cumulative deal value in 2015 was $442bn.

The year has recorded nine megadeals worth in excess of $5bn each and more than $150bn when combined.

The report notes that there were 75 deals each worth in excess of $1bn in 2015 compared to 52 in 2014, while the annual average deal size stood at USD149m compared to an average deal size of $99m in 2007.

In 2015, the top 10 biggest deals were collectively worth $163bn, which accounts to only 37% of the full year deal total.

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In Cayman Islands, 2015 recorded nearly 1,000 deals worth a cumulative $125bn representing a third of the deal volume for the entire offshore region, and over a quarter of deal value.

The report said that in 2015 Hong Kong attracted 519 deals worth a total $163bn. This strong performed was driven by the recent colossal Nanyang Bank $43.5bn acquisition.

The report showed that the main onshore investors in offshore targets are China, the UK and the USA, responsible for 209, 116 and 107 deals respectively in 2015.

Appleby report revealed that the insurance and financial services sector in 2015 accounted for 883 deals or 30% of the total.

Among these deals, manufacturing sector recorded 610 deals, while information and communications (287), construction (233), and mining and quarrying (192).

The report claims that half a dozen sub-sectors have seen at least 45% growth in deal volume over the last three years.

According to Appleby, the majority of the largest deals in 2015 were offshore acquisitions, accounting for eight of the top ten largest deals and over $250bn total spent.

Appleby partner and global head of corporate Cameron Adderley said: "The fourth quarter capped a robust year for transactional activity by all key metrics, including deal value, deal volume and average deal size.

"Many offshore jurisdictions recorded their best annual performance of the past five years in 2015, including Bermuda, Cayman, Jersey, Mauritius and Seychelles. The latter three have enjoyed a steady upward trajectory in deal volumes since 2011," Adderley added.

Appleby managing partner of Hong Kong office Frances Woo said: "Offshore saw more value than the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, South and Central America combined. Although 2016 remains fraught with uncertainty and challenges at the macroeconomic level could slow global deal activity, we are quietly optimistic that such good news will continue in 2016."