Who are the best advisers in 2017?

The Asset Triple A Regional House and Deal Awards 2017 saw intense competition for green financing and TMT deals

In a year that witnessed another record issuance volume in Asia G3 bond market, green bond offering rode on the bandwagon on the back of increasing demand for sustainable financing. China is the biggest market, but inaugural issuers are coming out from across the region to raise funds for renewable energy and other energy efficiency projects.

The vast potential for green bonds underscores the heightened competition for Best green adviser in The Asset Triple A Regional House and Deal Awards 2017. The honour goes to Credit Agricole CIB, which built a strong momentum as it arranged multiples of inaugural transactions that defined the green bond market last year. These include the US$500 million deal for DBS, which represented the first offshore green bond by a Singaporean issuer, and the maiden issuance by Korea Development Bank amounting to US$300 million.

Credit Agricole also manifested the strength of its franchise in the US$2.15 billion equivalent dual currency green bond for ICBC Luxembourg, in which it acted as a joint structuring adviser and represented the first green bond issued in alignment with both International Capital Markets Association (ICMA) and PBoC green bond requirements.

Another highly coveted advisory award is for Best TMT and Credit Suisse wins the accolade for capturing a large slice of the technology IPO theme, which saw Hong Kong back in favour as a listing venue. It executed industry-defining deals such as the IPOs for China Literature (US$1.2 billion), ZhongAn Insurance, Yixin Group (US$867 million) and Razer (US$529 million).

In terms of M&A transactions, Credit Suisse was involved in the largest telecom transaction and acquisition in Hong Kong since 2014 with the US$1.9 billion purchase of Hutchison Global Communications by I Squared Capital, and in the largest outbound cross-border deal in South Korea with SK Hynix’s US$18 billion acquisition of the memory business of Toshiba of Japan.

These deals demonstrate the strength of the Credit Suisse’s TMT franchise helped build by Jan Metzger, who is now replicating such capability at Citi, which he joined in November 2015 as head of TMT for Asia-Pacific.

The Best financial institution group advisory award is given to Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML). Whether it is in India or in Korea, the bank has proven itself to be a trusted adviser when it comes to assisting banks with their capital market transactions. In 2017, BAML was involved in multiple QIP deals with Indian banks, notably in the US$2.3 billion trade for State Bank of India, which was executed at a zero percent discount to last closing price.

BAML helped arrange landmark bond deals, including the US$7.5 billion perpetual Basel III-compliant additional tier 1 (AT1) capital for Postal Savings Bank of China – the largest such offering ever globally, which also achieved the lowest offshore AT1 yield by a mainland Chinese bank.

Citi, meanwhile, showcased its strength in NBFI/insurance sector in 2017. In winning the best advisory award in this category, the bank captured key investment themes such as in insurance and bancassurance. It was a lead joint bookrunner in the US$1.3 billion IPO for SBI Life Insurance, the largest IPO in India in the past seven years. It worked closely with Bangkok Bank on its bancassurance partnership with AIA.

Citi executed three consecutive block trades as sole bookrunner for Goldman Sachs PIA sell down in Max Financial Services, enabling them to fully exit their position in the company. In M&A deals, it was involved in the sale of MassMutual’s Hong Kong subsidiary to Yunfeng, Ant Financial and other investors for US$1.7 billion and in the Fosun’s sale of Ironshore to Liberty Mutual for US$3 billion. The bank, though, suffered a setback when the Ant Financial-MoneyGram merger agreement failed to secure approval from CIFIUS.

The Best consumer/retail adviser is awarded to BAML, whose year is highlighted by the US$6.8 billion privatization of Belle International, in which it acted as sole financial adviser. The largest ever private equity sponsors-led privatization transaction in Asia-Pacific, it offers Belle the opportunity to facilitate a necessary transformation of the business amid a challenging retail market environment. The bank was also responsible for the general syndication of HK$28 billion (US$3.60 billion) worth of senior secured credit facilities in support of the deal.

BAML also took part in several equity deals, including the US$489 million top-up primary placement for Chinese sportswear company ANTA, the US$70 million secondary block trade for Li Ning and in the 541 million euro (US$652 million) Euronext public listing of SMCP by existing shareholders Shandong Ruyi and KKR.

Another honour for BAML is the Best pharma/healthcare adviser. The bank was both lead left sponsor and joint global coordinator for the US$587 million IPO for WuXI Biologics and the US$123 million IPO for New Century Healthcare. It was also the lead left bookrunner in the US$300 million Nasdaq follow-on offering for Hutchison Chi-Med. WuXi Biologics was the first biologics outsourcing company listed in Hong Kong, while New Century represented the first ever Chinese pediatric hospital listing overseas.

BAML was likewise a leading adviser in significant healthcare M&A transactions in the region acting as the exclusive financial adviser on Creat Group’s US$1.4 billion acquisition of Biotest and in the US$830 million acquisition of controlling stake in Hugel by Bain Capital Private Equity.

HSBC wins the Best power/utilities advisory award, having successfully executed deals across M&A, ratings and financing roles in 2017. It was the sole financial adviser to JERA Company on its acquisition of a 10% stake in Renew Power Ventures Private Limited for US$200 million as well as being the rating adviser for deals including Azure Power Energy’s debut green bond and Paiton Energy’s US$2.75 billion financing.

The Paiton financing involved both bonds and loan tranches, and reset the debt capital structure for the company. The deal represented a landmark in the development of the Asian bond market as the first Reg S/144A project bond in the region since 1997.

In retaining the Best commodities/resource advisory award, which it also won in 2016, Credit Suisse was involved in different deals across debt, equity and M&A. It re-opened the high yield exploration and production EM bond market with a US$300 million offering for Medco Energi Internasional – its first issuance in the offshore US dollar market since 2003. It re-opened the deal about a week later with another US$100 million issue.

Credit Suisse was a joint global coordinator, bookrunner and lead manager in the US$3 billion triple-tranche senior notes for China National Chemical Corporation and in the US$1 billion senior notes deal and tender offer for Vedanta Resources done in August 2017. In another deal, it was a joint bookrunner in the US$378 million rights issue and private placement of renounced rights for Chandra Asri of Indonesia

Credit Suisse wrests from the competition the Best real estate advisory award with its diversified geographic coverage and execution capability in the region. Its accomplishments include the US$741 million IPO for Vincom Retail, which was voted by The Asset as the Best IPO of the year. It was a joint bookrunner in the US$448 million IPO for KBS US Reit, the second successful SGX-listed Reit of purely US-based assets following the Manulife Reit in 2016.

The Swiss bank helped arrange the US$6.6 billion senior notes exchange offer and new issuance for China Evergrande Group, representing the largest US dollar senior bond transaction ever in Chinese high yield capital markets space. It also led the structuring and execution of the US$3.5 billion senior notes exchange offer and new offering for Kaisa Group.

BNP Paribas is the choice for Best transport adviser as it helped its clients consisting of ship owners, ship operators, airlines and aircraft lessors to grow their business and fund their capital expenditures through a number of diverse and highly successful transactions in 2017. It was a joint global coordinator in the US$167 million VietJet Aviation IPO – the first Vietnamese IPO with a Reg S-compliant prospectus. It attracted a large number of top-tier global long-only investors, which subscribed to two-thirds of the deal.

The bank was a joint bookrunner in the US$1 billion dual tranche bond offering by BOC Aviation in September, which achieved the lowest coupon and tightest spread over US treasuries by any Asian aircraft leasing company, outside of Japan, for a 10-year tenor at that point in time.

In another significant transaction, BNP Paribas was a joint arranger in the KAL Japan ABS 20 Cayman Limited transaction amounting to 26.61 billion yen (US$236.28 million), which represented the first yen-denominated unwrapped ticket receivables deal in Asia.

In the following weeks leading to the awards’ night on February 1, during which we will announce the winners, Oscar-style, of the other major house/advisory awards – Best bank, Best corporate and institutional bank, Best equity adviser, Best debt adviser, etc – The Asset will write a series of articles on how the nominees addressed the challenges in the capital markets in 2017.


For the complete list of winners and nominees, please click here 

For the complete list of best issuers, please click here


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4 Jan 2018


Capital Markets

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