Deals in transportation, telecom, pharma and ports, plus another high-flying IPO, took blue-ribbon honors this year.
In an effort to strengthen its ability to bid on contracts, and marking the next stage in its growth strategy, Stadler Rail made its debut on the SIX Swiss Exchange last year with the help of this year’s Equity Deal of the Year recipient, UBS. The oversubscribed IPO, Europe’s largest for the year at the time of its offering, raised €1.4 billion (approximately $1.6 billion). At the time, Stadler Executive Chairman Peter Spuhler was quoted in the press as saying, “This is another milestone in the history of the company; and I remain fully committed to the continued success of Stadler, as the largest shareholder and as executive chairman.”
For its part, UBS generated more orders than any other syndicate, and the IPO was covered within 2.5 hours from book opening. The deal was the second largest industrial IPO in Switzerland and one of the largest rail IPOs worldwide.
The top Debt Deal of the Year was the Bristol Myers Squibb $19 billion bond issue. The debt was issued to fund the takeover of its rival pharmaceutical company Celgene, in the largest bond issue of the year. The issue was split into nine different securities, or tranches, ranging from 1.5 years to 30 years in maturity. The $95 billion acquisition of Celgene is one of the largest pharmaceutical deals ever, with Bristol Myers looking to dominate in the oncology field. The combined companies will have nine so-called blockbuster drugs—products that generate at least $1 billion each in annual sales—and a pipeline of drugs in development that could create annual sales of $15 billion, according to reports.
The M&A Deal of the Year took place in Kuwait involveing the acquisition of QualityNet General Trading and Contracting by VIVA, now stc Kuwait. Batelco Group and National Bank of Kuwait, who owned 90% and 10% of QualityNet, sold their stakes for a total of 28.3 million Kuwaiti dinars ($93 million), according to NBK. “The acquisition of QualityNet by stc Kuwait represents a new milestone for NBK Capital in supporting regional blue chip companies to achieve their strategic objectives,” says Rani Selwanes, managing director and head of investment banking at NBK Capital. “The transaction was cross-border by nature [and] a full-stake acquisition was orchestrated—not often observed in such sectors in the region.” The transaction is expected to improve the provision of internet services in Kuwait, by leveraging stc Kuwait’s scale and QualityNet’s market position.
2020’s Infrastructure Deal of the Year is Standard Bank’s financing for Port of Maputo improvements in Africa. In August of 2019, the Maputo Port Development Company awarded Belgium’s Jan De Nul Dredging the first maintenance dredging of the access channel to the port. That deal was made possible by Standard Bank Mozambique’s continued support for African infrastructure and the port, with a syndicated loan of $80 million and a separate $60 million loan to increase access to this regional gateway port for vessels of larger size and value. The bank itself took around 40% of the debt across the two transactions, buttressing African infrastructure efforts with hard-currency support. Total volumes handled at the port were 21 million tons of goods in 2019, up from the record total of 19.5 million tons in 2018. In February, it was announced that the dredging project had been completed, including rehabilitation of the channel and the berthing quays.
DEALS OF THE YEAR 2020
Equity Deal of the Year
IPO of Stadler Rail — Europe
Financial Advisers: Credit Suisse and UBS acted as joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners. BNP Paribas, Citigroup and Zuercher Kantonalbank were joint bookrunners and UniCredit Bank was co-lead manager, while Reichmuth, St. Galler Kantonalbank and Thurgauer Kantonalbank acted as selling agents.
The oversubscribed initial public offering of Swiss train-maker Stadler Rail in April—at the time Europe’s largest IPO of 2019—sent the stock rising 10% from its initial offering price, raising €1.4 billion.
M&A Deal of the Year
Acquisition of Qualitynet General Trading and Contracting by VIVA/stc Kuwait — Middle East
Financial Advisers: NBK Capital advised VIVA/stc Kuwait.
Both Bahraini telecom provider Batelco and National Bank of Kuwait sold their shares to VIVA/stc Kuwaitthis $93 million cross-border deal that consolidated Kuwait’s digital industry.
Infrastructure Deal of the Year
Financing for Port of Maputo improvements — Africa
Financial Advisers: Standard Bank.
Standard Bank Mozambique continued its support for African infrastructure and the Port of Maputo with a syndicated loan of $80 million and a separate $60 million loan to expand the size and value of vessels that can access this regional gateway port. The bank itself took around 40% of the debt across the two transactions, buttressing African infrastructure efforts with hard currency support.
Debt Deal of the Year
Bristol Myers Squibb $19 billion bond issue — North America
Financial Advisers: Morgan Stanley coordinated, with Barclays, Credit Suisse and Wells Fargo as joint leads.
Released in nine tranches, the senior unsecured bonds drew $67 billion worth of orders and helped fund Bristol Myers Squibb’s $95 billion acquisition of cancer pharmaceutical specialist Celgene Corp