Author: Michael Shari

By Michael Shari

REGIONAL AWARDS - NORTH AMERICA

BEST INVESTMENT BANK

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs has built what KBW’s Cannon calls “the powerhouse brand” on Wall Street by constantly structuring complex deals that combine its three core businesses—equity, debt and M&A—in a manner that the market is quick to embrace. In a transformational deal in May last year, Fiat invested $1.3 billion in Chrysler Group equity, bringing the Italian carmaker’s ownership in the Detroit automaker to 51%. Simultaneously, Chrysler raised $6.2 billion in separate debt deals—a $3.0 billion term loan and $3.2 billion in senior secured notes—plus it set up an undrawn revolver of $1.3 billion. Goldman acted as financial adviser to Chrysler in this recapitalization exercise.

BEST EQUITY BANK

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Bank of America Merrill Lynch was a bookrunner for 44 public equity offerings that raised $7.5 billion for its clients in North America last year, according to Dealogic. The bank played lead-left on three of the six biggest deals of the year: including a follow-on that raised $8.7 billion for AIG and an IPO that raised $4.4 billion for healthcare provider HCA Holdings. On March 9, 2011, the HCA IPO was upsized to 126.2 million shares, and priced at the high end of the filing range at $30 a share.

BEST DEBT BANK

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Bank of America Merrill Lynch served as bookrunner for no less than 1,341 public debt offerings in North America last year, more than any other investment bank, raising $211.7 billion. In the US, BofA Merrill Lynch was lead bookrunner on a $6 billion bond issue by biotech firm Amgen on November 7—the largest of many investment-grade recapitalization bonds issued last year. In addition, the bank claimed an impressive 22.7% share of the leveraged debt market.

BEST M&A BANK

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs had a larger market share and closed more mergers and acquisitions in North America than any other investment bank last year, advising clients on 201 deals worth a total of $387.5 billion. Clients often feel perfectly comfortable with Goldman as their sole adviser—even in deals worth tens of billions of dollars. In a $21.3 billion deal that closed on April 27, Goldman was the sole adviser to Johnson & Johnson on its acquisition of Synthes.

REGIONAL AWARDS - WESTERN EUROPE

BEST INVESTMENT BANK

Credit Suisse

Even as the eurozone crisis dragged investment banking fees down near their lowest levels in a decade, Credit Suisse is hovering at or near the top of Western Europe’s capital markets, says Luigi de Vecchi, co-head of global investment banking at Credit Suisse. By deal value, the Geneva bank ranked first in equity capital markets, 10th in public debt and sixth in M&A across the region last year, according to Dealogic. Credit Suisse was a bookrunner in eight of the region’s top 10 public equity offerings last year, including the $10.1 billion Glencore IPO in May. It was also involved in nine of the region’s top 20 high-yield bond issues, and advised on five of the top 10 M&A deals.

BEST EQUITY BANK

Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse is an agile player at extreme ends of Europe’s increasingly excitable equity markets, breaking records with the largest IPO ever staged in London and braving investor panic in the peripheral nations of the eurozone. The bank did not retreat into its shell after acting as a global bookrunner of the $10.1 billionGlencore International IPO last May. Instead, it shrugged off widespread fear among investors of exposure to toxic debt by acting as a bookrunner in the equity issues of three banks in Italy, Greece and Spain. Credit Suisse raised €807 million ($1.1 billion) in a rights issue for Piraeus Bank of Greece on February 17 and then raised $7.2 billion in another rights issue for Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo on June 13. Then Credit Suisse ran an IPO for Banca Civica of Spain that raised €600 million on July 20.

BEST DEBT BANK

Barclays Capital

Barclays Capital closed by far the largest number of public debt deals last year, underwriting 947 different bond issues that raised $125.2 billion for its clients. Barclays was a joint lead manager of Nationwide Building Society’s $19.9 billion issue of mortgage-backed securities on October 11, which met demand in the US for European securities that were deemed to be safe. It entered 2011 as a bookrunner for a $4.8 billion corporate bond issued by Lloyds TSB. And it was highly sought after in the underwriting of a long list of sovereign bond issues by the UK and other governments across Western Europe.

BEST M&A BANK

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs’ prowess in mergers and acquisitions reaches with ease across the Atlantic to the troubled shores of Western Europe. Goldman advised clients on 154 deals in the region last year that were valued at a total of $302 million, claiming a 33% share of the M&A market, according to Dealogic. The runner-up, J.P. Morgan, had only a 20.4% market share. In a deal that was driven as much by rising oil prices as it was by the buildup of cash on the balance sheets of US corporations, Goldman advised General Electric on its $3.2 billion acquisition of Converteam Group of France, which makes high-efficiency motors for oil and gasoline refineries.

REGIONAL AWARDS - ASIA

BEST INVESTMENT BANK

China International Capital Corp

The meteoric rise of China International Capital Corp on the league tables of Asia’s largest market over the past couple of years serves as a wake-up call to Western investment banks that left business on the table during the global financial crisis three years ago. It was also the lead bookrunner for a $4.0 billion follow-on equity issue by China Citic Bank on February 11, 2011, which was Asia’s third-largest equity deal of the year. In mergers and acquisitions, it advised Hong Kong jeweler Chow Tai Fook on its $2.5 billion purchase of a 3.44% stake in Ping An Insurance of China on March 14, 2011.

BEST EQUITY BANK

Ping An Securities

Even as the Shanghai Composite Index fell 22% last year, Ping An Securities, the rapidly growing capital markets business of a mainland China insurance company, raised $4.5 billion in 33 equity deals in 2011, according to Dealogic. That achievement gave Ping An a 5.5% share of Asia’s equity capital markets overall. And Ping An still succeeded in bringing new companies to market, even in financial services. In one indicative IPO in which Ping An acted as the lead bookrunner, Founder Securities Co. raised $905 million on August 3.

BEST DEBT BANK

China International Capital Corp

China International Capital Corp, China’s largest investment bank, has reaped a windfall underwriting huge bond deals for fellow Chinese mainland banks that needed to raise funds to meet stricter capital adequacy requirements that local regulators are expected to impose this year. CICC was involved in both of Asia’s two largest bond issues last year. On June 2, it acted as the lead bookrunner in Asia’s second-largest bond deal last year, raising $7.7 billion issue for Agricultural Bank of China. Then, on December 29, it was one of two bookrunners in the largest issue of the year, a $7.9 billion bond issued by Industrial & Commercial Bank of China.

BEST M&A BANK

Nomura

Nomura, the Japanese securities house, has been growing furiously in the global M&A market ever since it bought the Europe and Middle East investment banking businesses of the ill-fated Lehman Bros. in September 2008. And the capital market disruption caused by the Tohoku earthquake in Japan in March last year accelerated a trend among Japanese corporations to seek to acquire foreign assets, says Shinsuke Tsunoda, head of Japan M&A for Nomura. As a result Nomura, the Japanese securities house, closed 190 mergers and acquisitions that were worth $115.6 billion, according to Dealogic.

REGIONAL AWARDS - CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE

BEST INVESTMENT BANK

Goldman Sachs

A difficult year in Europe’s emerging markets did not dissuade Goldman Sachs from playing its strong suit. The bank ranked first in equity capital markets in Eastern Europe and third in M&A last year, according to Dealogic. The bank advised clients on 113 deals worth $183.7 billion. In one of Goldman’s biggest deals in the region, it advised Karachaganak Petroleum Operating, an oil and gas company in Kazakhstan, on the sale of a 10% stake to KazMunaiGas, also of Kazakhstan, for $3 billion in a deal that closed on December 14.

BEST EQUITY BANK

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs led three equity deals that raised $900 million for its clients, carving out a 10.8% market share in Central and Eastern Europe last year, according to Dealogic. In one such deal, Goldman served as bookrunner for a $1.2 billion follow-on equity deal for Polish insurance company Powszechny Zaklad Ubezpieczen on June 10. Acting as sole bookrunner, this resourceful bank kept the market moving with relatively small equity offerings like a follow-on deal that raised $210 million for Koza Gold Operations, a mining company in Turkey.

BEST DEBT BANK

VTB Capital

Since it was founded in Moscow in 2008, VTB Capital has taken part in more than 235 public equity and public debt deals, which the bank estimates has attracted $96.3 billion in investments to Russia and the CIS. Ranking in first place in Central and Eastern Europe last year, VTB led 69 bond deals worth a combined $11.5 billion for an 11.4% market share, according to Dealogic. In one of these deals, VTB acted as a joint lead arranger of a $650 million 20-year eurobond for Russian Railways last June.

BEST M&A BANK

Deutsche Bank

Taking advantage of its deeply entrenched investment banking presence across Central and Eastern Europe, Deutsche Bank enjoys a leading position in M&A in the region’s largest countries, such as Poland and Russia. Deutsche ranks in first place in Dealogic league tables, advising clients on 26 M&A deals worth $22.7 billion for a 14.3% market share last year. Deutsche advised Polkomtel, Poland’s second-largest mobile-phone company, on its sale to Polish billionaire Zygmunt Solorz-Zak for $5.5 billion last June.

REGIONAL AWARDS - NORDIC

BEST INVESTMENT BANK

Pareto Securities

Pareto Securities has grown rapidly since its parent company, the Oslo bank Pareto, was founded in 1985. With the acquisition in January of Öhman Fondkommission last September, the investment banking business of the Öhman Group of Sweden, Pareto Securities now has about 370 employees, with a head office in Oslo, as well as offices in Stockholm, New York, Singapore, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim and Malmö. It already had the largest market share of any native Nordic bank in debt capital markets at the end of last year, with the second-largest market share overall, at 7.3%.

BEST EQUITY BANK

Pareto Securities

Pareto ranks in first place in Nordic equity capital markets, raising $392 million in five deals that represents a 24.8% market share last year, according to Dealogic. With an expertise in oil and gas stemming from Norway’s North Sea oil industry, the company underwrote two follow-on equity deals that raised exactly $48 million each. One was for Rocksource, and the other was for TrollDrilling & Services.

BEST DEBT BANK

Nordea Markets

Nordea Markets has had the upper hand in Nordic debt capital markets ever since it combined all of its debt underwriting into a single division nearly four years ago. This allows the Denmark–based investment bank to “see the whole market and allocate resources where there is activity,” while its competitors in the region still lump LBOs into the same department as public bonds, says Jan Rasmussen, head of debt capital markets at Nordea. As a result, Nordea has the largest market share of any native Nordic bank in the region’s debt capital markets—7.3% in 2011, when it raised $15.7 billion for its clients.

BEST M&A BANK

SEB

SEB closed the largest number of mergers and acquisitions of any bank of any nationality in the Nordic region last year by far—31 deals valued at $9.3 billion, according to Dealogic. This prolific Swedish M&A house acted as the sole adviser to two Swedish machinery companies last year. One was Seco Tools, which sold a 39.6% equity stake to Sandvik of Sweden for $940 million on November 7. The other was Cardo, which was acquired by Sulzer of Switzerland for $935 million on April 7.

REGIONAL AWARDS - LATIN AMERICA

BEST INVESTMENT BANK

Itaú BBA

Itaú BBA of Brazil has grown across Latin America by seeking out corporate clients that have strong competitive advantages and a potential to become global leaders in their sectors, says Fernando Iunes, managing director for investment banking at Itaú BBA. One such client was Gerdau, a Brazilian steel company. On April 11 last year, Itaú BBA acted as lead bookrunner with two other Brazilian banks in a $2.5 billion follow-on equity deal for Gerdau. Itaú BBA claims a larger share of Latin America’s equity capital market than any other bank, raising $1.53 billion for its clients in 10 deals that represented a 16.4% market share last year, according to Dealogic.

BEST EQUITY BANK

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Bank of America Merrill Lynch led a host of landmark Latin American equity offerings last year. Of the $8.2 billion in proceeds from IPOs priced in Latin America in 2011, BofA Merrill Lynch raised $3.4 billion—more than any other global bank. Of the eight largest IPOs of the year, BofA Merrill Lynch acted as a bookrunner on four of them—more than any other global bookrunner. One of these deals—for Arcos Dorados Holdings of Argentina—was the largest Latin American IPO of 2011, which raised $1.4 billion on the New York Stock Exchange.

BEST DEBT BANK

Santander

This Spanish bank is deepening its roots in Latin America, where it actually has more of its business in Brazil than in Spain—and has indicated to fund managers that it sees a much brighter future for itself than in Western Europe. As the lead bookrunner of $10.8 billion in debt issues last year, it now has an 8.5% share of Latin America’s debt capital markets.

BEST M&A BANK

BTG Pactual

The biggest M&A adviser in Latin America just got bigger. On February 8 this year, BTG Pactual, a Brazilian investment bank, concluded its acquisition of Celfin Capital, a smaller investment bank that operates in Chile, Peru and Colombia. Now Marco Gonçalves, a partner and head of M&A at BTG Pactual, says Celfin’s squadrons of investment bankers will be retasked to work on outbound M&A deals that BTG Pactual is putting together for Brazilian corporations that have cash piling up on their balance sheets. Last year BTG Pactual advised its clients on 52 M&A deals in Latin America.

REGIONAL AWARDS - MIDDLE EAST

BEST INVESTMENT BANK

Samba Capital

The capital markets unit of a multiservice bank that is regarded by fund managers as among the best managed in Saudi Arabia, Samba Capital was very active last year in arranging syndicated loans that financed huge oil and gas projects despite unprecedented turmoil in the Middle East and volatile oil prices that had effectively priced in the risk of Saudi Arabia going off-line.

BEST EQUITY BANK

Gulf International Bank

Bahrain-based Gulf International Bank ran the Middle East’s second-largest IPO last year, raising $130 million for Hail Cement in Saudi Arabia, where it had a 40.2% share of the market for new equity issues last year. It is the only bank in Saudi Arabia to have brought equity deals to market consistently since global markets began to slow in 2008.

BEST DEBT BANK

HSBC

HSBC was the top bookrunner in the Middle East’s debt capital markets in 2011, when it ran 17 bond issues that raised $4.5 billion, giving the bank a superlative 13.4% market share. It was a bookrunner in the region’s two largest bond issues last year—a $5.0 billion investment-grade corporate bond by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries of Israel and a $5.0 billion sovereign debt issue by the State of Qatar—both in November.

BEST M&A BANK

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs considers North Africa and the Middle East the cradle of the world’s most promising frontier markets after the BRICs, and all of its services are represented in the region, from investment banking to compliance. Ever since its first offices opened in Doha, Qatar in 2007, its unstoppable M&A machine has consistently ranked at the top of league tables. Goldman completed nine M&A deals in 2011 with a total value of $11.1 billion and a market share of 20.4% in the Middle East.

REGIONAL AWARDS - AFRICA

BEST INVESTMENT BANK

Standard Bank

Standard Bank is the largest native investment bank in this vast continent of nearly one billion people spread across 55 recognized countries, only half of which are investable. It is based in South Africa, which makes up 65% of the African continent’s publicly listed market capitalization. The bank is involved in the acquisitions of mines and other African assets by Chinese companies that see greater potential for long-term growth in frontier markets than in mainland China. “It would be impossible for any investment bank to dominate the region’s capital markets without a strong and successful presence in South Africa,” says Helmut Engelbrecht, head of investment banking for Africa.

BEST EQUITY BANK

Java Capital

This up-and-coming South African investment bank underwrote only two equity issues in Africa after investors panicked and fled all frontier markets globally in response to the Arab Spring uprisings and subsequent crackdowns, but it still raised $330 million and claimed a 40% market share across the region, according to Dealogic.

BEST DEBT BANK

Barclays Capital

Barclays Capital participated in more debt deals in Africa—private-sector and government—than any other bookrunner last year. Barclays raised $2.1 billion in 24 issues that represented a 16.1% regional market share, according to Dealogic.

BEST M&A BANK

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs advised its clients on nine of the largest M&A deals in Africa last year. Spread out over a variety of industries, those transactions were valued at $13.4 billion, representing a 27.2% market share, according to Dealogic. In one of the more complex of these deals, Goldman led Bank of America Merrill Lynch in advising Leisure Parks of South Africa on the sale of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront entertainment park in Cape Town to two buyers: Public Investment Corp and Growthpoint Properties.

alt Best Investment Banks 2012