In a difficult market faultless execution is essential. Barclays Capital delivered on that front time and time again. It led what were, without a doubt, the most innovative, the largest and certainly the most challenging bond issues of Australasia in the awards period. It is IFR Asia’s Australia and New Zealand Bond House of the Year.
Macquarie’s securitisation team is a shining light in Australia. Not only did the bank consistently print asset-backed securities throughout a difficult year, its deals were steeped in innovation and they stood as benchmarks to the rest of the market. For overcoming supremely challenging markets, Macquarie is IFR Asia’s Australia and New Zealand Securitisation House of the Year.
Westpac’s success in safely navigating a course through treacherous markets while securing a leading league table position has been a source of admiration and envy to rivals. The bank’s successes amid the year’s market chaos make it IFR Asia’s Australia and New Zealand Loan House of the Year.
Goldman Sachs JBWere seemed perpetually destined to be runner-up to Australia’s long-standing dominant ECM house, UBS. But the financial crisis upended banking in Australia and gave Goldman Sachs JBWere the opening it needed to finally challenge UBS. For that breakthrough the bank is IFR Asia’s Australia and New Zealand Equity House of the Year.
Citic Securities ranked first in the bonds bookrunner league table – not just for China but for all Asia ex-Japan (a first for a PRC securities company). It not only surpassed other domestic firms in terms of the volume of the deals it underwrote, but also in terms of its innovation. Its consistency has earned it the title of IFR Asia’s China Bond House of the Year.
Up until the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, the Shanghai market chugged along in a state of splendid oblivion. But when the global meltdown finally caught up with Chinese equities, the market tumbled. That has played to the strengths of CICC, the best investment bank in China. The bank returns as IFR Asia’s China Equity House of the Year.
Over the review period, few deals in Hong Kong stood out the way Champion REIT’s HK$10.11bn acquisition financing for Langham Place did. The fundraising straddled multiple asset classes and were completed in a difficult market. The end result was a vastly improved company, and the deal is IFR Asia’s Hong Kong Capital Markets Deal of the Year.
Like most Asia Pacific markets in 2008, the Indian bond market faced a myriad of challenges. But with more and more companies looking to tap the domestic bond market, Axis Bank made wise use of its balance sheet. It was far more active in arranging bonds than its size would suggest, and is duly recognised as IFR Asia’s India Bond House of the Year.
Indian ECM started the year in exuberant fashion but, by February, the market had fizzled. Foreign investors stampeded for the exits, IPO mandates went cold and rights issues devolved – painfully. But Kotak Mahindra more than held its own, displaying steady execution in a relentlessly tough market. For its sure-handedness, Kotak Mahindra is IFR Asia’s India Equity House of the Year.
Domestic currency deals defined Asian bond issuance in the year with the market acting as the perfect foil to the tightly shut G3 sphere. Among the strong regional players Malaysia stood out a credible funding venue for foreign issuers. RHB Investment Bank has kicked the ringgit market wide open and, for developing this vital new source of liquidity, it is IFR Asia’s Malaysia Bond House of the Year.
Malaysia has had more than its share of debut issuers in the year, all emerging with tightly priced, well subscribed deals. But one deal towered above the rest: the gargantuan M$15.35bn capital markets deal for Binariang GSM. For the sheer courage of bringing a big deal to a market untested for such size, Binariang GSM is IFR Asia’s Malaysia Capital Markets Deal of the Year.
Asia’s corporate space was a huge challenge in 2008, particularly in emerging market countries, which were seen at risk of being engulfed by the global financial crisis. So the Reg S trade SMIC closed via UBS in July was a barnstormer. The deal stands as IFR Asia’s Philippines Capital Markets Deal of the Year.
Meltdown in the financial markets could not stop the momentum of Singapore’s loan markets in the year. The city had a banner year, drawing in giant, innovative deals from around the region. DBS Bank was at the centre of a big year in which Singapore was Asia’s most dynamic loan market and for that the bank is IFR Asia’s Singapore Loan House of the Year.
DBS shook up Singapore’s staid bond market with its jumbo issue in May 2008. Its S$1.5bn hybrid was at that time the largest debt issued in Singapore dollars and it was quickly followed by a handful of billion-dollar bank capital raisings. For capturing first the potential of this market and instrument, DBS’s hybrid Tier 1 is IFR Asia’s Singapore Capital Markets Deal of the Year.
Shinhan Bank’s inaugural US$770m cross-border sale of residential mortgage-backed securities ticked all of the boxes. At the time of issue it was the largest securitisation out of South Korea and it had a pioneering triple currency structure. It clearly stands as IFR Asia’s South Korea Capital Markets Deal of the Year.
Surprisingly, given the entrenched gloom of credit markets globally over the past year, Taiwan’s syndicated loan volumes rose in the year. That played to the strengths of Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank, which had the appetite and the resources to capture this pick-up in deal flow. The bank has reprised its role as IFR Asia’s Taiwan Loan House of the Year.
HSBC has much to crow about. It has come through the financial crisis with one of the tightest CDS spreads of the non-nationalised major banks. It took no government bailout money. It was not forced to do any emergency equity raising. It has simply stuck to its entirely stress-tested model of financing thousands of worthy clients. Long lost in a crowd of flashy, aggressive investment banks, the financial crisis has made dramatically clear just how excellent HSBC is. It is IFR Asia’s Bank of the Year, Bond House of the Year and Domestic Bond House of the Year.
The Export-Import Bank of Korea (Kexim) nailed down its credentials as one of Asia’s most dependable and unflappable borrowers in the review period. In a year in which many of the region’s borrowers were forced to abandon capital raising plans, it managed to print in the size. It did so largely by looking far afield and tapping into non-core markets. For its resourcefulness it is IFR Asia’s Issuer of the Year.
If 2008 was anything it was the year of Asian domestic bonds and more specifically of bonds issued in China, where the market kept up a hectic pace in the face of a decimated G3 bond arena. China Merchants Bank caught this tailwind and printed Asia’s second-largest bank capital transaction. For getting a giant deal away in the midst of the credit crisis, CMB’s Rmb30bn bond is recognised as IFR Asia’s Bond of the Year.
Macquarie Group’s A$1.2bn securitisation of autoloans via Smart Series 2008-1E Trust was not only the largest Australian transaction for nearly a year, it was also the first Australian transaction to achieve European Central Bank repo-eligibility. That is why it is IFR Asia’s Securitisation Deal of the Year.
The return of volatility in 2008 to Asia turned the emphasis of the region’s derivatives business on its head. As volatility increased, out went heavy structures and leverage and in came simplicity and hedging. Widening bid/offer spreads was where the money was made. For staying resilient and expanding market share, Deutsche Bank is IFR Asia’s Derivatives House of the Year.
RBS had challenges in 2008, not the least of which was managing a merger with ABN AMRO while navigating the political minefield of a nationalisation in its home market. Yet RBS stayed focused on improving its position in Asian loan markets and was present on most of the key transactions in the year. For its constancy, it is IFR Asia’s Loan House of the Year.
Primary Healthcare’s takeover of Symbion Health was never simple. A long and unpredictable acquisition process clashed with a syndication overshadowed by the collapse of Bear Stearns. Despite these challenges the deal closed oversubscribed. For its many strengths, and for being one of the few acquisition financings to survive the year, it is IFR Asia’s Loan of the Year.
The year saw execution and distribution skills tested to the maximum, but UBS managed to maintain its traditional dominance in Asia by sticking to the basics brilliantly. Through its old-fashioned agency approach, it snared several high-profile mandates and avoided the many pitfalls suffered by others during the year. It is IFR Asia’s Equity House of the Year.
Asian ECM began 2008 with jumbo Chinese IPOs, but it was the quick share placements that looked smart when markets turned extremely volatile. And none was as gutsy as Australian pharma giant CSL’s jumbo placement, fully underwritten and smoothly executed by Merrill Lynch in mid-August. For its sheer pluckiness, CSL’s A$1.75bn overnight share placement is IFR Asia’s Equity Issue of the Year.
In a year marked by cratering equity markets and collapsing hedge funds, equity-linked bankers weathered the worst conditions in a decade. In this environment, Citi distinguished itself bringing a series of well structured and well executed deals. For staying focused and keeping its franchise intact during a period of internal and external turmoil, Citi is IFR Asia’s Equity-linked House of the Year.
Country Garden’s equity-swap linked convertible bond was a clear standout in a dire year for Asian equity-linked. It raised money for a much-shunned sector (Chinese property) and it extracted value from a much-overlooked asset (equity volatility). The deal was quickly imitated. For its structural innovation, Country Garden’s convertible is IFR Asia’s Equity-linked Deal of the Year.
For years, Indonesia has watched from the sidelines as Malaysia dominated Islamic finance in Asia. But with a determined and disciplined approach, Indonesia overcame regulatory, legal, political and financial obstacles to push through its debut sovereign sukuk in August 2008. The landmark deal is IFR Asia’s Islamic Deal of the Year and Indonesia Capital Markets Deal of the Year.