If 2009 was all about survival, then 2010 has been a year of progress. Having weathered the storm of the financial crisis last year, Asian issuers have taken advantage of resurgent demand for emerging market assets to launch a variety of innovative deals.
This year’s Asian Issuers report highlights a number of the landmark transactions and leading companies that are paving the way for others to follow and moving the Asian capital markets into higher gear. Singapore’s Temasek Holdings broke new ground across a variety of markets as it pushed its yield curve out to 40 years, and the benchmarks it set in the domestic Singapore market triggered a rush of deals from other Singaporean issuers.
Government-linked companies have been leading the way across Asia as improving economics allow new issuers - and new structures - to come to market. Malaysian mortgage agency Cagamas introduced a new Islamic financing structure to the ringgit market in August, while the Philippines’ Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management made its debut in the domestic peso bond market in March, taking a key step towards meeting its mandate of funding the notoriously complicated - and politically sensitive - power sector in the country.
The capital-intensive property sector has also restored its access to the capital markets. The listed property trust model, which looked to be on the ropes during the financial crisis, has proven that it is here to stay, and investors welcomed the chance to diversify into a new leading real estate vehicle when Sunway REIT listed in Malaysia in July. While securitisation has remained off the table as a funding option, issuers such as Ascendas REIT in Singapore have come up with some interesting alternatives.
Chinese developers have also turned to the international capital markets to overcome funding constraints at home, although the crowd of issuers met with mixed responses from overseas investors. Shimao Property Holdings showed the debt capital markets remain open for top names from the sector even in tough market conditions with a high-yield bond in May.
India’s equity markets welcomed an unlikely new sector in August as the first microfinance institution, conceived originally as a not-for-profit business, sold shares in what looks set to become a model for the industry. Indian issuers are also keeping the loan markets on their toes with requests for bumper financings to support overseas acquisitions, as Bharti Airtel demonstrated in March when it swiftly locked up a US$7.5bn loan to fund its expansion into Africa.
And no round-up of Asian issuers this year would be complete without a mention of Agricultural Bank of China, which broke every IPO record in July as it completed its long-awaited dual listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Together, these deals and companies highlight the confidence in Asia’s rapid growth that is driving the region’s capital markets to new and exciting heights.