Congratulations to all the winners in The Banker’s Investment Banking Awards 2023. Despite a difficult and volatile year across the capital markets, the winners have continued to innovate and deliver the best possible outcomes for their clients across the 26 product and regional categories, including bonds, sustainability-linked loans and Islamic finance.
Investment banks from across the world competed for the titles, and winners include institutions from the US, the UK, France, Brazil and the UAE. The breadth of the applications and awards is testament to the increasingly global nature of the business and the strength of smaller insurgents – the “bulge bracket” banks have a strong showing, but are far from the only players making waves.
The award period under review is from June 2022 to July 2023. This was one of the most turbulent periods for financial markets of the current century, with the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 shaking the world, and contributing to the rising inflation and climbing interest rates seen in most markets.
A long period of low interest rates in the wake of the global financial crisis was already coming to an end, but few people expected the spike that occurred. Investment banks had only just guided their clients through the Covid-19 pandemic, and its related lockdowns and supply shocks, when they had to face a new set of challenges. Many of the winners receive plaudits for their aptitude in navigating the turbulent waters – for example, identifying brief market windows for transactions and rallying wary investors to these opportunities.
For the fourth year, we have given an Investment Bank of the Year for Sustainability award. This, like the Investment Bank of the Year accolade, is not open to direct entry, and the winners are selected from their strengths across regional, product and coverage categories.
The sustainability categories are highly competitive, with institutions aware of investor appetite for sustainability-linked deals. Social impact is a growing theme; we have winners that engaged in landmark deals to strengthen gender inclusion and social housing, for example. As previously, environmental, social and environmental (ESG) factors are important criteria taken into account by the judges.
More broadly, the awards are judged on the quality of service, execution and problem-solving demonstrated by banks in the difficult environment of the past year. There is also an emphasis on innovation, and how banks have worked to develop new products, structures and services to help clients and shape the market, whether through developing financing for electricity interconnectors, issuing gender-linked bonds, or restructuring Ukraine’s debt.
Many winners made waves supporting their clients with “first-in-kind” transactions – the award period saw multiple issuers debut with green instruments in particular. Other stand-outs included the first dual listing on the Saudi and Abu Dhabi stock exchanges, the first institutional tokenised green issue from a government issuer and the first offshore market refinancing of onshore Chinese shares. The year also saw landmarks including Poland’s largest ever merger and acquisition deal, Germany’s largest ever state-backed recapitalisation and Asia’s biggest ESG bond issuance.
Despite the strong headwinds and continuing uncertainty, investment banks were able to execute thousands of deals, many of which break new ground and show the way ahead for the industry. Again, congratulations to all our winners.
- Luis Galindo, global head of debt capital markets research, ION Analytics.
- Joy Macknight, editor, The Banker.
- Fabrizio Palmucci, senior advisor, Climate Bonds Initiative; founder of advisory firm Impactivise.
- Rikard Scoufias, expert on environmental, social, governance and sustainability strategy; chairman, Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resource Management.
- James Stacy, partner and global director, clients and industries, ERM.
Innovation, versatility and a worldwide depth of experience are the keys Citi has used to unlock its performance, despite considerable global macroeconomic headwinds during the review period. As such, it has picked up the highly coveted Global Investment Bank of the Year accolade in 2023.
“This recognition validates the success of our client-centric approach. In this challenging market environment, it’s especially important to create innovative solutions to address the needs of our global clients,” says Tyler Dickson, co-head of banking, capital markets and advisory, Citi. “I’d like to thank our valued client base for putting their faith in us, as well as the Citi team members who have worked tirelessly to provide top-notch service.”
The bank managed to grow its investment grade debt capital markets wallet share – the only one of the top three globally to do so – while it has also been active in a range of major strategic transactions, merger and acquisition (M&A) deals, landmark initial public offerings (IPOs) and first-in-kind environmental, social and governance structures.
Regionally, Citi has led the field in central and eastern Europe, where it assisted in the largest-ever Polish merger, as well as in western Europe with Ireland’s largest 100% secondary market follow-on since 2021. Citi also remains the only US bank operating on the ground in Ukraine, despite the ongoing conflict, demonstrating the depth of its commitment to the country and region.
In the Middle East, Citi successfully priced three key IPOs at the top of the range, one of which saw its book covered 163 times. Meanwhile, in Africa, Citi helped mobilise more than $5bn in investment from global institutions, with highlights including bookrunning for Morocco’s $2.5bn capital raise – a transaction marking the north African country’s return to the international debt markets after more than two years.
The bank was also active in its home market of the US, pricing multi-billion-dollar offerings for some of the country’s most prestigious firms, including IBM, General Motors, Pfizer and United Health Group. In Asia, Citi led Singapore’s largest rights issue since 2021, as well as the largest ever Hong Kong primary follow-on.
Our teams have been trusted by our clients globally on the largest, most complex and most impactful transactions of the year.
The past year also saw Citi help more than 25 issuers with their first sustainable bonds. This defied a global downturn in these instruments and added a further $123.5bn of green financing to the total that the bank has helped organise.
That these results came despite a rough 12 months for investment banking globally only adds to Citi’s achievement. Indeed, high inflation and high interest rates, in addition to economic, climatic and geopolitical uncertainties, have made deals harder to find worldwide. Helping it weather the storm, however, has been the bank’s enduring ability to leverage its established presence in nearly 160 countries and draw on a deep well of expertise.
Over the past year, this formula led to the landmark Hidroelectrica IPO in Romania. This was the largest frontier market IPO since 2008 and larger than the top three Romanian IPOs put together to date. In Poland, too, Citi helped multinational oil refiner and petrol retailer, Orlen, realise the only ever three-way public merger in the country’s history. The deal was completed in less than six months – a record time.
Innovation was also key to Citi’s success elsewhere. In Africa, the bank was lead placement agent for a $130m sustainable securitisation for energy company Sun King, a process that was first-of-its-kind, bank-led, entirely Kenyan shilling-denominated transaction.
“Citi’s truly global platform has enabled us to execute some of the most notable cross-border M&A deals, equity and debt financing and strategic advisory solutions. By demonstrating continuous innovation and adaptability, our teams have been trusted by our clients globally on the largest, most complex and most impactful transactions of the year. And since the very start of Jane Fraser’s leadership, the bank has made even more ambitious sustainability targets, which put the energy transition at the heart of all our activity,” says Manolo Falco, co-global head of banking, capital markets and advisory services, Citi.
HSBC has established a reputation as one of the world’s leading banks for sustainable products, and over the past year has stood out with its innovative, bespoke sustainability-focused work for its clients. Its success is reflected not only in winning the overall Investment Bank of the Year for Sustainability accolade, but taking home the Investment Bank of the Year for Sustainable FIG Financing award, and being shortlisted for other sustainability categories.
The UK bank has committed to a target of providing $750bn-$1tn in sustainable finance and investment by 2030, and by the end of the award period had provided $210.7bn, with $42.1bn on-balance-sheet financing committed in support of green, social and sustainability activities in 2022, up 62% year-on-year.
The bank participated in 160 bond deals with green, social, sustainability or sustainability-linked labels (50 of them in the financial institutions group space), and acted as the green/social structuring advisor in 10% of them. It was engaged in 37 such transactions for new-to-market issuers, acting as green/social structuring advisor for nine transactions. Through the period, it maintained its position as the leading underwriter of environmental, social and governance (ESG) bonds in Europe, Asia and the US by both volume and number of deals undertaken.
The bank structured the highest number of sovereign ESG frameworks in the award period, for clients including the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, Cyprus and Uruguay. Landmark transactions included the UK Debt Management Office’s (DMO) green gilt tap during a period of political uncertainty and market volatility in the UK – the country had three prime ministers within two months – and was buffeted both by high stress in the pension market and a controversial “mini budget”. Nonetheless, with HSBC’s assistance, the DMO was able to tap £4.5bn of green gilts maturing in July 2053, pricing just 1 basis point over the reference security and generating very strong demand, with an order book of more than £30bn.
In January 2023, HSBC helped Hong Kong access a difficult open to capital markets with the largest ESG bond issuance in Asia at the time. The eight-tranche offer across dollar, euro and renminbi totalled $5.7bn, surpassed by a similarly structured $5.9bn issuance in June, which also marked the largest-ever renminbi green bond issue. HSBC has been ESG structurer to Hong Kong since the latter’s first green offering in 2019 and took this role in the region’s first tokenised green bond – the first institutional tokenised green issue from a government issuer anywhere in the world and the first tokenised Hong Kong dollar bond.
The bank has prided itself on “market-defining transactions” that have brought new structures to the sovereign sustainability-linked bond (SLB) market. These have included Uruguay’s pioneering two-way coupon step structure SLB in September 2023, which was a global first and a ground-breaking move by an emerging market sovereign. The structure adds financially binding commitments to the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution – Uruguay’s pledges under the Paris Agreement. Also in Latin America, HSBC worked as an integral partner with Chile’s government in developing its SLB framework to include an innovative gender target as well as environmental key performance indicators.
The bank’s strengths in the Middle East extend to sustainable finance. It helped Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in its issue of the largest green tranches yet issued from the Middle East, north Africa (MENA) and Turkey region, and worked on the first sustainable bond by a Gulf Cooperation Council sovereign, from Sharjah, UAE. These deals involved helping the issuer navigate investor ESG expectations, and educating investors on the growth of sustainable finance in the region.
We are accelerating our ability to capture the opportunities around the [net-zero] transition.
Aware that most green loans go to renewable energy, clean transportation and green buildings, HSBC has sought out opportunities outside these categories. For example, it extended an IDR27bn ($41.8m) green trade loan to PT Eco Paper Indonesia to support the company’s production of recycled paper – a green loan under the circular economy category.
The bank also aims to promote diversity and inclusion (D&I) across a range of platforms, and is a leader in actively engaging D&I brokers in the US. These brokers have close relationships with investors too small for banks to cover; HSBC has worked with all 27 D&I firms, with 20 of them taking an active role.
“This achievement reflects the significant progress we are making to support our clients across different geographies with their transition to net zero,” says Mary MacLeod, global head of strategy and chief commercial officer, global banking and markets at HSBC. “With a strong market position, we are accelerating our ability to capture the opportunities around the transition. Beyond our traditional strengths in loans and bonds, ESG capabilities are now integrated across all financial and investment banking products, underpinned by our deep transition sector expertise.”
Winner: Rothschild & Co
Regularly advising on more deals than any other European player, and consistently engaged with many of the largest and most prominent, Rothschild & Co is a household name, which not many independent investment banks can claim. It retains its position as Independent Investment Bank of the Year in 2023, continuing to go toe-to-toe with bulge bracket rivals and competing with them at the top of banking league tables. It also scoops our awards for merger and acquisition (M&A) and restructuring.
“The unrivalled volume of transactions we work on provides us with the scale, reach and market knowledge to see opportunities and deliver effective solutions for our clients, worldwide and across borders,” says Robert Leitão, managing partner of Rothschild & Co. “We continue to increase scale in North America by investing in our coverage of key industry sectors in order to grow market share.
“Our geopolitical advisory offering has been significantly strengthened over the past 12 months, and we completed the acquisition of Redburn Atlantic, establishing a transatlantic broker headquartered in London, which supports our strategy to develop a global multi-product equity solutions platform.”
We continue to increase scale in North America by investing in our coverage of key industry sectors
Over the past year, Rothschild hired senior bankers in sectors in which it is looking to enhance its US coverage, with a leadership team bolstered with experienced partners and managing directors. Its Boston office, established in 2021, is going from strength to strength and contributing to key mandates in the region, while a Miami office opened in 2023.
Over the award period, Rothschild’s global advisory unit worked on sustainability-linked transactions worth over €41bn and helped clients raise more than €18bn in sustainability-linked financing through its debt advisory team. It advised on 28 sustainability-driven energy and climate-related deals involving a range of segments.
Major deals included the complex €16bn voluntary takeover of Vantage Towers engaging Vodafone and a consortium led by KKR and GIP, the €10bn merger of Dufry and Autogrill, and restructuring $24bn of Ukrainian debt in the wake of the Russian invasion.
Of the top three firms in wallet share terms for 2023 investment grade debt capital markets (DCM) as of August, Citi was the only one to grow its market share, underlining its ability to navigate the choppy waters of rising interest rates and soaring inflation. The bank was involved in a range of strategic transactions, including big-ticket acquisition financing and tax-optimised hybrid capital trades. Citi has developed, established and executed several first-in-kind structures, while optimising existing models to enhance investor engagement, lower interest costs and ensure smooth execution.
In October 2022, Citi priced a $9bn offering for US insurance company UnitedHealth Group, following the company’s completion of its $12.8bn acquisition of Change Healthcare, a healthcare technology company. Citi helped the issue to build over $36.5bn of demand at peak, and achieve a pricing at a weighted average coupon of 5.530%. The acquisition, executed by UnitedHealth’s Optum unit, aims to bolster the insurer’s technology services and capabilities, helping its clients streamline payment and administrative functions.
When the market is volatile, it is our experience in execution that allows us to shine.
In January 2023, Citi was active bookrunner on the year’s only tri-currency offering to date (as of mid-August) – a $3.25bn/€4.25bn/£750m offer by IBM. The single-day execution saw pricing with low single-digit new issue concessions.
Among the innovative deals Citi was involved in was PNC’s $1000 par perpetual non-call seven-year (PerpNC7) fixed-to-fixed offering in February 2023. Citi advised PNC on the primary market, as the Pittsburgh-based regional bank sought to meet its increased capital needs resulting from its growing balance sheet. The unique PerpNC7 structure differentiated the notes from PNC’s recent PerpNC5 issues.
“Our relationships are what differentiate us in this space,” says Richard Zogheb, global head of DCM, Citi. “When the market is volatile, it is our experience in execution that allows us to shine, and our consistent commitment to provide our clients with best-in-class service is what motivates issuers to turn to us. We take that trust seriously and it drives us to seek out the best options possible so our clients can succeed in any market condition.”
HSBC led the way in emerging market equity capital markets (ECM) transactions in the year to June 2023, raising over $17bn in equity capital through a range of different transactions – around $3bn more than the next bank. The UK-based bank was engaged in 13 initial public offerings (IPOs) and 12 secondary share placements for emerging market entities in jurisdictions including China, India, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
It also ranks first overall for the Middle East, north Africa (MENA) and Turkey ECM, with around 3.3 times the volume of its closest competitor, having executed 11 transactions and raised $12bn for its clients, including involvement in all the top five ECM deals in the region by deal size.
This award serves as validation to our commitment, track record and expertise in emerging markets.
HSBC prides itself on its ability to deliver landmark transactions and led six ECM deals over $1bn in the past year, capitalising on its global distribution platform that provides access to key investors worldwide. Major transactions included Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s (Adnoc) $2.5bn IPO, the largest ever on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, the largest MENA IPO and the largest demand globally for an IPO as of mid-2023. Adnoc’s offering generated demand of more than $125bn, an oversubscription of 163 times, the largest demand ever for a UAE IPO.
The bank also acted as sole global coordinator and lead underwriter in the largest-ever Asian rights issue from the real estate sector, Hong Kong-based REIT Link’s $2.4bn one-for-five offer, which was also the largest rights issue in the special administrative region since 2015. Plus, it was joint bookrunner on the $1.8bn IPO of restaurant business Americana, the first-ever dual listing on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and the Saudi Stock Exchange.
“HSBC is proud to have received this prestigious award, as it serves as validation to our commitment, track record and expertise in emerging markets. Our franchise in emerging markets has been built on being able to deliver transactions for clients across a range of geographies and sectors using our unique and award-winning domestic, regional and international sales, trading and research capabilities,” says Chris Laing, managing director ECM, global banking, HSBC.
Winner: Natixis CIB
Natixis CIB’s equity derivatives team has built a diversified business that aims to remain selective about its development, minimise risks to its books and optimise client benefit, while sticking to its values and climate and social targets. It has targeted environmental, social and governance (ESG) instruments and sukuk (sharia-compliant bonds), and sought new clients in markets as diverse as the UK, Japan, Malaysia and the UAE.
Over the past year, Natixis CIB has designed and executed three investment products linked to its ESG Optimum World Index, with south-east Asia-based insurance companies investing on their own account for a notional sum of nearly $100m. These are the investors’ first-ever investments in ESG structured products, which Natixis CIB designed to provide exposure to global ESG equities while slashing the investors’ capital charge within risk-based capital regulations.
We have managed to maximise client benefit while successfully minimising risk to our books.
The index was developed with Natixis CIB’s Green and Sustainable Hub, which works across business lines, providing ESG expertise and developing sustainable funding and investment products, as well as contributing to the bank’s own energy transition. It says that combining a high-quality ESG index – a product design that optimises capital consumption – and a mechanism to secure the yield of the product once the index hits a certain level makes these deals unique.
In a landmark deal, the first offshore market refinancing of onshore Chinese shares, Natixis CIB closed a China Stock Connect trade via triparty with a custodian and a major international investment bank. The deal featured a tailor-made structured financing solution enabling clients to raise cash against non-rehypothecable Connect shares. The structure has since been used by various institutional investors and expanded to Korean equities.
“We are incredibly proud that our efforts have been recognised. By remaining selective about development and loyal to our values, we have managed to maximise client benefit while successfully minimising risk to our books,” says Michael Haize, global head of global markets at Natixis CIB.
Over the past year, Citi has priced more than 115 bookrun offerings, raising more than $55bn for issuers, demonstrating its capabilities in follow-on execution. Among these offerings were a number of landmark transactions. The bank successfully led the London Stock Exchange’s $3.3bn accelerated equity offering (AEO), which is the largest non-privatisation secondary AEO in the UK since 2009, the largest AEO involving a financial sponsor in the country of all time and the largest secondary AEO of any type since 2018.
The bank was also active bookrunner and oversaw billing and delivery on Irish aviation leasing company AerCap’s $1.4bn follow-on in March 2023. The deal offer was the largest 100% secondary marketed follow-on since July 2021 and the second largest marketed follow-on offering of the year to date.
We pride ourselves on our ability to develop plans for each client based on what they need.
In Asia, Citi led the largest rights issue in Singapore since 2021, a $602m transaction for airport services company SATS. The offer saw the tightest discount to theoretical ex-rights price since 2008 for a $500m-plus issue on the Singapore Exchange. It also acted on the largest-ever Hong Kong primary follow-on, Anta Sports’ $1.5bn raise, at a period in which transactions were becoming window-driven in early 2023.
Citi-led private placements have raised more than $15bn over the 12-month period, with $1.2bn of that fundraising for clean energy, and completed 14 deals across five different sectors. Citi’s Natural Resources and Clean Energy Transition Group became fully operational in 2022, helping support the bank’s broader sustainability-focused efforts. It drove negotiations for Porsche’s $614m private placement, which achieved an outsized valuation and aims to fund the development of silicon-carbon technology for lithium-ion batteries.
“We pride ourselves on our ability to develop plans for each client based on what they need to have success in an uncertain market,” says Doug Adams, global co-head of equity capital markets, Citi. “Having that adaptability alongside our bank’s unmatched globality has equipped us to be better advisers for our clients and, despite market challenges, we are stronger for it.”
The past year has not been great for initial public offerings (IPOs), with soaring interest rates and geopolitical uncertainty limiting market appetite. Furthermore, some high-profile issues in recent years have seen disappointing stock performance after the offering. Yet the period has also seen some milestone transactions.
HSBC opened and closed the 2022 IPO calendar, and led IPO volumes into the new year. The bank’s equity capital markets (ECM) business led on several of the largest listings worldwide between June 2022 and June 2023, raising more than $8bn in equity capital in IPOs. In the year to end-June 2023, HSBC was involved in four of the five largest global IPOs and five of the seven largest ECM transactions. It also had a leading presence on each of the biggest IPOs priced across each quarter.
The bank led six of the top 20 IPOs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) as joint global coordinator or to-line bank over the 12-month period, outperforming its rivals for aftermarket performance on these IPOs, achieving an average 13% bump in price one month on from the issue. In all, it handled nine EMEA IPOs in the period, with an aggregate value of $2.26m.
This recognition outlines the strength of our product offering and our cross-border expertise.
Key IPOs on which HSBC acted included the historic $8.7bn first offering by luxury car maker Porsche in September 2022, the $2.5bn IPO of the UAE’s Adnoc Gas in March 2023, and the November 2022 float by restaurant group Americana on stock exchanges in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
HSBC has also taken the lead in developing the role of environmental, social and governance (ESG) structurer on IPOs, a function that is likely to increase in importance.
“HSBC is delighted to have received this recognition, which outlines the strength of our product offering and our cross-border expertise,” says Andrew Robinson, managing director ECM, global banking at HSBC. “We are proud to have supported our clients in leading IPOs across Europe and the Middle East despite challenging market conditions, reflecting our abilities in our core markets and close collaboration with colleagues across global banking and markets.”
Winner: Société Générale
Over the past year, Société Générale (SocGen) has been involved in a wide range of infrastructure and project finance deals – from electricity interconnectors through battery storage and the electric vehicle (EV) value chain to critical minerals projects.
The bank describes the interconnector sector as “a pioneering new asset class”, and has been a leading player in advising and financing the industry over the past year. Landmark projects include NeuConnect, the largest privately financed interconnector linking the power grids of Germany and the UK, for which SocGen acted in a range of roles including sole financial advisor and mandated lead arranger.
The bank designed a complex multi-currency and multi-borrower structure to meet the requirements of a complex project. The deal required a strong contractual framework, and entailed an intense procurement process and negotiations with construction tenderers, achieving a bankable risk allocation in the challenging context of rising commodity prices and competing demand from other projects. NeuConnect required support from two different regulatory regimes to balance market risk from power price and volume volatility, to achieve revenue predictability, a vital component of successful project finance.
In addition, SocGen advised and arranged the $6.06bn project financing of the largest single transaction in the North American renewable energy sector, the Champlain Hudson Power Express, which will deliver low-cost renewable power from Canada to New York City. The project finance had to be arranged in a difficult lending environment, with SocGen delivering: flexible equity funding through construction supported by Blackstone, the sponsor; unique deal contingent hedges through the development period (in the context of inflationary pressures and interest rate risk); and underwriting by a small group of project finance banks, allowing the completion of major construction contracts in this same challenging context.
The bank has also been active in major offshore and onshore wind projects, and was the only non-Japanese bank involved in financing the Ishikari project, the world’s first integrated offshore wind and battery storage project, and Japan’s largest offshore wind farm.
Malaysia is the world’s third-largest Islamic banking market, according to rating agency Fitch, with sharia-compliant finance accounting for more than 40% of local banking system loans. CIMB is a leader in this market not only domestically but internationally, as the largest sukuk arranger globally for the past 11 years, as well as the largest ringgit sukuk arranger in Malaysia in the same period. It has a 13.4% share of the global sukuk market, having overseen 687 international issues with a total value of $84.3bn. In the domestic market, it has executed more than 600 issues totalling RM266.4bn ($56.9bn).
In the volatile market of the past year, CIMB adapted its strategies to meet its clients’ evolving needs, helping them ride out the turbulence. Despite interest rates globally hitting levels not seen since the global financial crisis, CIMB delivered one of the highest compressions from guidance from a high-quality issuer in south-east Asia: Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad’s $1.5bn dual-tranche sukuk wakalah and notes.
The bank was also able to deliver the tightest credit spreads for a corporate issuer of the year to June 2023 on engineering, infrastructure and property company Gamuda Berhad’s RM900m Islamic medium-term notes issue, maximising compression through the process during a period of volatility.
CIMB aims to distinguish itself through championing product innovation and sustainable finance, and has delivered a number of structures that are the first of their kind, as well as landmark sustainability transactions. The bank lead-managed the first-ever sustainability sukuk from the Malaysian road sector, a RM5.5bn issue from motorway concessions company Amanat Lebuhraya Rakyat Berhad. The issue was also the largest ringgit-denominated corporate sustainability sukuk in Malaysia in 2022.
The bank also participated in the largest mini hydropower project financing deal in Malaysian history, the RM975m Asean green SRI sukuk wakalah issued by RP Hydro (Kelantan). In March 2023, it also executed utility company TNB Genco’s RM2bn sustainability sukuk wakalah to fund the development of the Nenggiri Hydroelectric Power Plant project in Kelantan.
Winner: First Abu Dhabi Bank
First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) has maintained its position as the leading bookrunner and mandated lead arranger (MLA) in the Middle East and north Africa region by deal volume in 2022-23. In the period, FAB’s leveraged finance team closed more than 20 financing deals globally, with a combined underwrite/balance sheet commitment of more than $10bn.
It was the only bank to play a leading role in all the marquee leveraged finance deals – those worth upwards of $1bn – closed in the period in the region, and was also active in the mid-market space (deals worth less than $150m).
FAB’s leveraged finance business was most active in the Gulf Co-operation Council, the US and Asia. The bank’s value-add proposition emphasises dominance in its home region as well as internationally, with an enviable regional footprint including India, the US and Brazil.
It acts as an aggregator of liquidity from the Middle East outside the region, supporting cross-border acquisitions and following its strategic clients outside the Middle East to support their growth ambitions. For example, it acted as a lender on Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala’s $159m acquisition of US snack food manufacturer Trufood.
Key transactions in which FAB played a leading role included acquisition financing for Saudi-based pension and social securities fund investment vehicle Hassana Investment Company’s $1.365bn acquisition of a 10% stake in three of Dubai Ports World’s (DPW) UAE assets – Jebel Ali Port, Jebel Ali Free Zone and National Industries Park. The deal involved creating an intermediate special purpose vehicle (SPV) between the bidder and the seller, and the financing entailed extensive structuring and negotiations on conditions and controls around the SPV.
FAB also acted as MLA, bookrunner and lead coordinator on a $2bn financing package for Abu Dhabi Ports to acquire identified targets, most prominently Dubai-based Global Feeder Shipping, which has one of the world’s largest container ship fleets, and Noatum, an integrated logistics platform.
“FAB is honoured to be named Investment Bank of the Year for Leveraged Finance and to be first in the Middle East region ever to receive this award from The Banker,” says Bhupinder Singh, FAB’s head of leveraged and acquisition finance.
“We have persevered to provide our clients with best-in-class thought leadership and advised on innovative and flexible leveraged finance solutions, in highly dynamic market conditions, across sectors and geographies. We are proud to have shaped the leveraged finance market with significant landmark transactions and structures, and look forward to providing superior service to our clients.”
Winner: Rothschild & Co
With its wide geographical presence and long-term approach to relationships, Rothschild & Co continues to top the global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) table. It ranked first in the number of M&A transactions in the 12 months to June 2023, advising on 319 deals, 10% more than the most active “bulge bracket” bank, Goldman Sachs, and 63% more than the most active independent, Lazard. Rothschild advised on a total of $213bn publicly disclosed M&A.
It also ranked first by number of cross-border M&A deals, advising on 177 transactions, 25% more than its closest competitor, JPMorgan. Rothschild advised on a total of $116.7bn publicly disclosed cross-border deals, and 55% of its transactions in the 12-month period were cross-border; it advised across 31 countries. Ranking at number one in global private equity M&A, Rothschild advised on 183 deals, 69% more than its closest direct competitor, with a total value of $82.5bn.
We rank first for global completed deals between July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023.
“We are established as the most active independent M&A adviser globally. We rank first for global completed deals between July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023,” says Philippe Le Bourgeois, chief operating officer of global advisory at Rothschild & Co. “One of our key strategic objectives is to maintain this position through continued engagement across global markets, in every industry sector, building trusted long-term relationships with businesses of every size.”
Key deals included French car rental business Europcar Mobility Group’s €3bn recommended tender offer by a Volkswagen-led consortium, in which Rothschild advised the target in a pressured and very short timeframe, putting a focus on value creation for all stakeholders.
In an example of its global reach, Rothschild’s UK, German and New York teams worked together to provide seamless advice on the complex voluntary takeover offer for Vantage Towers between Vodafone and a consortium led by KKR and GIP. This led to a co-controlled joint venture between the three businesses, Oak Ventures, taking an 89% stake in Vantage. Rothschild concurrently advised Vantage on a voluntary takeover for the outstanding shares held by minority shareholders.
Nomura’s private placement team prides itself on its investor access, as well as differentiated sector expertise with local presence. Sectors of focus include technology, media, and greentech industrials and infrastructure.
“The Investment Banking Award 2023 recognises the great outcomes that Nomura’s private placements team has achieved for our clients in the past year. Our differentiated sector expertise and our global investor access has made it possible,” says Guy Hayward-Cole, co-head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa investment banking at Nomura.
Nomura Greentech recently marked its third anniversary since being acquired by the bank, and has been involved in several landmark transactions over the past year. It acted as financial advisor and joint placement agent to Group14, a global manufacturer of silicon battery technology, in its December 2022 second and final closing of a $614m Series C round. Nomura Greentech was chosen for its insights and deep expertise in the battery and electric vehicle value chain, as well as its experience in communicating technical concepts to mainstream investors.
The award recognises the great outcomes that Nomura’s private placements team has achieved for our clients in the past year.
It was also financial advisor to Innovafeed, a French biotech company that rears insects for plant and animal nutrition, in its €250m Series D funding round in September 2022. Nomura Greentech leveraged its experience in agritech, decarbonisation technology and chemicals, and its background in transacting tech-enabled growth platforms, to position insect protein to a wide group of investors, including commodities giant Cargill, the Qatar Investment Authority, and Singapore-based impact private equity, abc Impact.
The award period also saw Nomura and its equity trading arm Instinet roll out Instinet DealMatch in Europe. This digital private investment platform connects institutional investors with companies seeking to raise private capital. It combines Nomura’s deal sourcing, project execution, advisory, and product expertise with Instinet’s access to more than 1000 institutional investors worldwide and extensive data on investor preferences, giving it powerful capacity in investor-targeting intelligence.
Winner: Rothschild & Co
Rothschild & Co maintains its commanding position as market leader in restructuring into 2023, having advised on 44 deals over the past 12 months involving a total of more than $80bn of debt. This entailed work with 30 debtors, 10 creditors, and four sovereigns in 18 jurisdictions across the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe, the Middle East and Africa, including many deals with cross-border aspects.
Rothschild has 80 specialist bankers working on restructuring, fully integrated into the bank’s global financing advisory business, which has advised on more than 1500 deals involving $1.1tn of debt over the past six years.
We have delivered exceptional results for our clients, often under significant time pressure.
“The strength of our integrated platform across industry teams and financing specialists has allowed us to assist clients to navigate challenging trading and market conditions,” says Andrew Merrett, global co-head of restructuring at Rothschild & Co. “We have delivered exceptional results for our clients, often under significant time pressure and facing unique challenges over the past 12 months.”
Landmark deals include one of the most high-profile sovereign transactions of the year, advising the Ukrainian ministry of finance on the restructuring of $24bn of Ukrainian government debt following the Russian invasion, which led to Kyiv losing access to international markets. Rothschild supported Ukraine in three transactions. The first suspended all debt service payments on bilateral debt until December 2023, with a possible 12-month extension. The second involved a consent solicitation on $21.1bn of sovereign and sovereign-guaranteed Eurobonds, saving Ukraine more than $6bn of foreign exchange liquidity over two years. The third amended $3.2bn of outstanding GDP-linked warrants to mitigate post-war repayment risks.
Rothschild also advised on the distressed sale of Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB) UK arm to HSBC, which was implemented within just 48 hours and received widespread praise for its rapid and efficient execution. In a weekend, Rothschild conducted extensive outreach to a wide range of potential buyers, engaged with regulators and customer representatives, and prepared a deal that helped ensure continuity of business for SVB UK.
Winner: Société Générale
The past year has been a difficult one for structured finance, with issuances falling nearly 30% in 2022, according to S&P Global, as high inflation, interest rate volatility and geopolitical uncertainty curbed appetite among issuers. And the rating agency expects global issuances to be down a further 7% in 2023, although with some markets brighter than others.
Société Générale (SocGen) has taken a lead in helping its clients navigate these difficult waters, leveraging its organisation as a global “one-stop shop” platform for credit, providing end-to-end securitisation services for its clients through financing, structuring and distribution.
The bank has dedicated teams of bankers and financial engineers structuring asset-backed securities (ABS), commercial mortgage-backed securities and collateralised loan obligations aiming to balance cost of funding to issuers and appeal to investors.
Assessing the appropriate execution strategy has been critical in this environment, with SocGen offering a combination of full public, pre-placement and private placement strategies, while attracting new investors to its portfolio clients. It was also able to provide clients with adjusted structuring solutions such as interest rate pre-hedging, which came into its own over the past year, and significantly reduced the excess spread and rating volatility on the deals in question.
SocGen has ranked in the top two for euro-denominated ABS issuances since 2015. From July 2022 to June 2023, it handled 12 public European ABS deals, placing a total notional amount of €8bn. It executed eight capital relief trades involving €20bn of securitised portfolio, with five deals on non-performing loans with €600m of securitised portfolio. Its de-risking transactions included the largest synthetic securitisation to date, involving a €8.5bn portfolio of European auto loans and leases, acting for automaker Stellantis Group – the business formed by the merger of Fiat Chrysler and PSA – as part of an M&A mandate.
Environmental, social and governance innovation has been a key area of focus for SocGen in recent years, and in February 2023 it helped clean energy company Mosaic achieve enhanced terms on a solar loan ABS deal through recommending an optimised structure using different ratings approaches.
Winner: Natixis CIB
“This award is testament to our long-standing commitment to developing innovative financial solutions that support clients in their multifaceted climate transition and sustainability journey. Our green and sustainability-linked loan activity over the past year – including our work with Air France-KLM to issue its inaugural sustainability-linked loan – has helped our clients align their operations with sustainability targets while simultaneously supporting the overall CIB transformation strategy,” says Orith Azoulay, global head of green and sustainable finance at Natixis CIB.
The bank established its socially responsible investment sell-side research team in 2008, with the unit being one of the first to provide insights on green bonds. In 2017, Natixis CIB introduced a “green weighting factor” in its credit process, linking capital allocation to the sustainability of each transaction. This aims to accelerate the bank’s transition to sustainable finance and incentivise green business origination, integrating climate risk into overall transaction risk assessment.
This award is testament to our long-standing commitment to developing innovative financial solutions.
Natixis CIB can also utilise its Green and Sustainable Hub, also established in 2017, a team of 40 environmental, social and environmental (ESG) experts that works across business lines supporting the development of sustainable funding and investment products.
As a result, the bank ranks in the top 10 global green and sustainability-linked loan coordinators, according to Dealogic, handling 37 deals with a total volume of $21.2bn in 2022.
As mentioned, Natixis CIB worked as joint ESG coordinator, global coordinator and documentation agent for Air France-KLM’s €2.2bn inaugural sustainability-linked loan package in April 2023. The transaction allows the combined entity and the French airline, as a separate business, to continue to align their financial strategies with sustainability and climate goals, including reducing unit CO₂ emissions and increasing the share of sustainable aviation fuel. The airline group’s performance on key indicators will influence the financing cost of the transaction, with potential upward or downward adjustments to the margin.
The global sustainable bond market has taken a hit from the past year’s turbulence, like most markets. Activity is picking up in 2023, with $205m of issues in the first quarter of the year, up 17% on the previous quarter, according to the Climate Bonds Initiative – though this is still down 21% on the first quarter of 2022.
Citi is committed to facilitating $1tn in green finance by 2030, and added another $123.5bn towards this goal in 2022. It acted as joint bookrunner on sustainable bond issues with a total apportioned value of $35bn across 233 tranches from July 2022 to June 2023, giving it a 4.4% market share. Among these transactions, Citi helped more than 25 issuers launch their first sustainable bonds.
The bank is consistently ranked in the top two for sustainable bond issues from emerging markets excluding China, and was joint bookrunner on sustainable bonds worth $106m from emerging market issuers in the period, involving 18 jurisdictions.
Citi continues to lead in bringing innovative sustainable finance solutions for our clients.
Other key deals included a ground-breaking sustainability finance framework and transaction for Sun King, the world’s largest off-grid solar company. The framework matched use-of-proceeds categories to the International Capital Market Association’s green and social bond principles. Citi securitised Sun King’s pay-as-you go receivables to raise around $130m to support the company’s expansion of clean and reliable energy in Kenya, including solar-powered home systems and appliances.
In another transaction, Citi structured its third impact and outcome-based bond since 2021, a $50m sustainable development bond for the World Bank, which will be used to provide clean drinking water to schools educating two million children in Vietnam.
“This award reflects Citi’s commitment to driving positive change and its expertise in this market, for example supporting 25 clients across multiple sectors around the world to issue sustainable bonds for the first time. From Sun King’s local currency securitisation in Africa to the World Bank’s emissions-linked bond delivering pure drinking water to school children in Vietnam, Citi continues to lead in bringing innovative sustainable finance solutions for our clients,” says Philip Brown, global head of sustainable debt capital markets, Citi.
HSBC has used its global footprint, powerful distribution platform, and history of innovation in the environmental, social and governance (ESG) segment to build a strong position in the sustainable financial institutions group (FIG) financing space, ranking as the top bookrunner on such deals in the survey period, acting on 49 deals worth a total of $6.461bn, giving it a 3.91% market share.
The bank has supported issuers across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and the Americas to access the ESG bond market, with a dedicated sustainable bonds team playing a role in the bank’s progress towards its target of providing $750bn–$1tn of sustainable investment and financing by 2030.
In the uncertain market conditions following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Credit Suisse, HSBC supported reopening trades from Svenska Handelsbanken, with a €1bn green five-year covered issue, and three social covered issues from Korea Housing Finance across euro and Australian dollar – one three-year €500m bond and issues of A$120m ($77m) and A$200m.
We continue to drive the development of FIG sustainable financing by supporting issuers to deliver more robust disclosures.
In the award period, HSBC formed a partnership with CaixaBank to support the latter in updating and extending its Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) funding framework, which was published in November 2022. The new framework aims to ensure that all CaixaBank’s green activities are aligned with the EU Taxonomy technical screening criteria. HSBC helped CaixaBank with the creation of an affordable housing category that takes into account the particularities of each Spanish region in which Caixa operates.
“In markets where sustainable disclosure is more established in regulation, we continue to drive the development of FIG sustainable financing by supporting issuers to deliver more robust disclosures, such as their alignment with global taxonomies, and broaden reporting to include their direct impact in meeting the UN SDGs,” says Anjuli Pandit, managing director, debt capital markets, global banking, HSBC.
Canada’s Scotiabank is committed to mobilising $350bn of climate-related finance by 2030, as well as $10bn to affordable housing and infrastructure that increases access to it across Canada. As of mid-2030, the bank had achieved $96bn towards its climate-related target, with $38m added year-on-year.
With a focus on society, Scotiabank’s indigenous-Canadian-led indigenous financial services team provides financial products and services tailored to the needs of the country’s indigenous nations, businesses and organisations. The unit is staffed by experts in land development both on and off reserves, and in major projects engaging indigenous communities and businesses.
In 2022, Scotiabank established a dedicated cleantech energy transition investment banking team, a group of bankers working across various industry groups including power and utilities, energy, technology, consumer, industrial, retail and auto, as well as across product groups. At the time of submission, it had active mandates in new technology segments such as energy storage, renewable fuels, electric vehicle infrastructure, carbon capture and hydrogen.
Over the award period, the bank supported more than 18 sustainable supranational, sub-sovereign and agency transactions across a variety of jurisdictions.
Scotiabank acted as sustainability structuring agent on the State of Mexico’s inaugural sustainable bond. The country’s most populous state issued the first environmental, social and governance-labelled bond issued by any Mexican state.
Proceeds will be used to finance green and social-focused infrastructure projects, including bus networks and female-focused social institution Cuidad Mujeres.
In its home market, Scotiabank acted as joint lead on the Canadian government’s Ukraine sovereignty bond, acting as an advisor to the government throughout the process. In the US, the bank worked as joint bookrunner on three dollar-denominated sustainability bonds issued by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, with proceeds going to support financing green and social projects in IBRD member states.
In Colombia, the bank was engaged as sustainability structuring agent on the inaugural sustainability-linked facility launched by Empresas Públicas De Medellín, the first of its kind by a government-related entity.
It has been a difficult year for many of Mashreqbank’s core markets. The Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries all have some form of dollar peg and thus have tracked the US Federal Reserve’s rapid rate increases. Meanwhile, major markets outside the region, including Turkey, Egypt and Nigeria, have been roiled by political and economic crises. Nonetheless, Mashreq was able to execute 18 syndicated loan deals in the GCC, 10 in Turkey through the award period, with two in Egypt, and four each in Nigeria and Kenya.
The single largest of these deals was a $3.5bn revolving credit facility for Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa), one of the largest listed integrated utility companies in the region. The transaction was 1.7 times oversubscribed, with 20 banks participating. Taqa worked closely with relationship banks to secure a 10% anchor and achieved more favourable terms than the previous revolving credit facility it replaced.
In Turkey, in the context of high inflation, interest rate volatility with unorthodox monetary policy, and uncertainty around May 2023’s hotly contested election, Mashreq acted as mandated lead arranger and bookrunner on three syndicated loans worth more than $1bn – sustainability-linked loans for Vakif Bank and Ziraat Bank, and a dual currency term loan for Ziraat.
Our origination and structuring capabilities are well augmented by our strong loan distribution network.
The bank has executed debut sustainable loans, including Indian mining company Vedanta’s in August 2022 – the first sustainability-linked loan by a large Indian natural resources company, and the first foreign currency syndicated loan for Vedanta.
Mashreq pre-funded the transaction by $150m to ensure there was no delay in financing the issuer’s capex requirements. The loan stipulated sustainability-linked as well as financial covenants, helping the issuer structure its environmental, social and governance roadmap and positioning it as a pioneer among its peers.
“Mashreq’s investment banking platform is arguably the most diverse in terms of coverage among all regional banks in the Middle East,” says Chiradeep Deb, managing director and global head of investment banking, Mashreqbank. “Our origination and structuring capabilities are well augmented by our strong loan distribution network that has access to the investor ecosystem across the globe, including banks, funds and insurance companies, allowing us to bring our underwriting prowess to the fore.”
Winner: Standard Bank
The growth of investment in Africa has been one of the economic stories of the past decade, with players from European telcos to Chinese minerals companies to US private equity involved. The continent saw 3.8% growth in 2022, down from 4.8% in 2021, according to the African Development Bank (ADB), affected by the same headwinds as the rest of the globe.
Still, Africa’s growth is likely to outstrip the global average for some time to come. And, as the ADB notes, there are growing opportunities in the burgeoning sustainable growth segment, with potential for trillion-dollar investments.
South Africa-based Standard Bank is one of the leading financial services groups on the continent, with a presence on the ground in 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Outside Africa, it has a strategic partnership with China’s ICBC focusing on commodities and emerging markets. Standard Bank uses this network to pursue its strategy of connecting African markets to one another and to capital pools around the world.
Standard Bank’s investment banking unit consistently arranges an average of R200bn ($10.6bn) to R250bn in funding annually, but in the review period achieved a standout R340bn raised for clients, despite the difficult economic climate. The bank was ranked top mandatory lead arranger and top lender in the region for 2022 by Dealogic, as well as number one for bonds by Bloomberg.
Over the period, the bank has strengthened its capacity to finance larger transactions for complex credit structures for longer tenors, using innovative structures and collateral and distribution methods, and capitalising on its access to markets. It also offered a wider range of products for African clients using balance sheet, distribution and insurance tools.
For example, Standard Bank was the sole arranger and sustainability structuring agent on one of the landmark deals of the year, a R1.1bn sustainability-linked bond offering by South African industrial enterprise Barloworld, which linked performance to sustainability targets including renewable energy usage, increasing diversity and inclusion, and improving workplace safety. The bank also helped raise an additional R1bn in a sustainability-linked term loan and revolving credit facility.
Standard Bank aims to mobilise a cumulative R250bn-300bn in sustainable finance across all its banking products by the end of 2026, and is currently on target to attain its 2023 sustainable finance goals.
Winner: Itaú BBA
Brazil’s Itaú BBA transacted 15 equity deals worth a total value of $739m in the award period, giving it a 18% share of total market volume and putting it top of the Latin American equity capital markets (ECM) tables. It handled nine of the top 10 ECM deals in the region, including the eight largest.
In the debt capital markets, it also ranked first, acting as bookrunner on 69bn reais ($14.1bn) worth of issues on the origination side, a 27% market share, and 39bn reais (also a 27% share) on the distribution side. It has coordinated 60% of all Brazilian issuances on international bond markets in the past three years. In mergers and acquisitions, Itaú acted on 32 deals worth a total $9bn, ranking third in the award period.
The bank has been engaged in structuring several environmental, social and governance (ESG) loan operations, and has taken a lead in structuring issues of ESG debt securities in local and international capital markets, as well as operations for transition or linked to sustainability targets, thus participating in a wide range of fixed income ESG-labelled products.
In a unique move, Itaú has taken the decision not to charge clients for ESG advisory services, aiming to incentivise the trend towards companies integrating ESG into their business models. The bank participated in 18 of 42 ESG offerings in 2022 in the award period, becoming the leader in Brazil for such transactions, with nine more transactions than the second-ranked bank.
Itaú was lead coordinator on the largest follow-on in the past 12 months in the Brazilian market, a $4.5bn issue by car rental company Localiza, which saw a 34% share price appreciation. The bank also worked on the $768m follow-on by retailer Assaí which saw French counterpart Casino further reduce its stake in the company and cede control, as part of its own debt reduction programme.
Since 2022, the bank has been implementing ‘integrated technology communities’ in the investment banking sector. Itaú believes these new tech hubs will increase efficiency and decrease corporate risks, as well as enable real-time monitoring of market operations and transactions.
The International Monetary Fund expects the Asia-Pacific region to contribute around 70% of global growth in 2023. This performance has made Asian assets must-haves for many global investors, including in the growing green market.
Singapore’s DBS has lead-managed on multiple benchmark-sized deals in the region over the award period, with particular strengths in environmental, social and governance (ESG)-labelled products. It has become a leader for Singapore dollar-denominated bank capital instruments, particularly Tier 1 instruments and Singapore dollar perpetual securities.
In 2022, DBS committed S$20.5bn of sustainable financing loans, ranging from renewable energy project finance through transition to social loans. The bank has already committed S$61bn ($44.8bn) of sustainable financing transactions over the past five years, surpassing its target of S$50bn by 2024.
We remain committed to delivering end-to-end financial solutions and driving growth for our clients
The bank acted as bookrunner and sole green structuring advisor on the Singapore government’s S$2.4bn 50-year green bond issue in August 2022, which priced at a yield of 3.04% for its S$2.35bn placement tranche. This tranche attracted a range of high-quality institutional investors, with an AAA-rated sovereign issue with long tenor. DBS arranged investor meetings to introduce the government’s new Green Bond Framework, and guided the government through the volatile market to find a suitable window for the launch.
The same month, DBS acted as joint bookrunner on Singapore’s Public Utilities Board’s (PUB’s) S$800m green bond issue, due 2052, which priced at 3.433%. This was the first green bond issue from PUB’s new S$10bn medium-term note (MTN) programme, and represented the largest issue and longest-dated bond issued by PUB to date.
“Over the years, our unmatched distribution, strong track record of domestic and cross-border deals, and established presence in the equities, fixed income and mergers and acquisitions space have cemented our position as a leader in the regional capital markets industry. We remain committed to delivering end-to-end financial solutions and driving growth for our clients,” says Seat Moey Eng, group head of capital markets group, DBS Bank.
Central and eastern Europe (CEE) is a relatively low-profile region for global finance, particularly as two of its largest jurisdictions, Russia and Ukraine, are off-limits to many investors at present. However, the region is producing high-quality companies of interest to international investors.
For example, the July 2023 initial public offering of Romanian utility Hidroelectrica was Europe’s largest of the year to date, and Polish logistics companies InPost and Allegro have both made splashes with their inaugural offers in recent years.
Citi successfully executed 35 transactions across all products in CEE during the award period. The bank achieved an overall investment banking deal value of $20.06bn over the past year, almost $8bn ahead of its nearest challenger.
Citi continues to provide market leading advice and execution to our clients.
The bank acted as sole mergers and acquisitions (M&A) advisor to Polish state-owned oil and gas company PKN Orlen in its €10.4bn “supermerger” with PGNiG, another state-owned enterprise in the sector, making it the largest ever Polish M&A transaction. The deal, executed amid a volatile commodities market, has considerable political as well as economic significance, and creates a potential national energy champion with a focus on energy transition.
The bank was also financial advisor to Greece’s PPC on its acquisition of Enel’s business in Romania, the largest international acquisition by a Greek corporate, which created the largest power company in south-east Europe.
“Citi serves as a trusted advisor for our clients by responsibly providing financial services that enable growth and economic progress,” says Marzena Fick, head of CEE investment banking, Citi. “We have played a key role in some of the landmark transactions in the region, executing the largest ever Polish merger with PKN Orlen and largest IPO year to date in Europe with Hidroelectrica’s IPO. Citi continues to provide market leading advice and execution to our clients, offering innovative solutions and capital, and helping them achieve their strategic goals.”
Winner: First Abu Dhabi Bank
First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) has established a commanding position as a leading home-grown investment bank for the Middle East. It is either top ranked or the only regional bank listed in the top five across the loans, loan agency and G3 currency bonds and sukuk. It is the top bookrunner for loans in the region over the past five years, and has been among the top bookrunners in Middle East equity capital markets (ECM), and ranks third in the UAE in deal value.
Key deals in the award period included the first ever concurrent initial public offering on the Abu Dhabi and Saudi stock exchanges for Americana Restaurants. In debt capital markets, FAB acted on a $2bn dual-tranche sukuk and bond offering by Bahrain and the Egyptian government’s $1.5bn inaugural sukuk, with the bank acting as joint lead manager and joint bookrunner on both.
The bank advised Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund, on Dh1.38bn ($380m) of global real estate financing. The fund aims to use the funds to develop several complex real estate projects across the US in a joint venture with Landmark Properties. FAB demonstrated its broad capabilities by providing bespoke financing solutions for these operationally intensive property assets in a major global market.
In ECM, transactions aside, FAB became the first registered omnibus account operator with the Abu Dhabi Stock Market and the Dubai Central Securities Depository. The omnibus account structure reduces market entry barriers and eases burdens on investors, and FAB has played an active role in developing omnibus regulations in the UAE.
Over the past 12 months, FAB advised on, structured and led more than 25 sustainable finance transactions, worth a total of more than $11.1bn, contributing to its target of $75bn by 2023. Among these deals, FAB advised on the $5.85bn senior secured term loan for Saudi Arabia’s Neom Green Hydrogen Company, the world’s first and largest utility-scale green hydrogen project, at the hugely ambitious Neom development in the north-west of the country.
“FAB’s Investment Banking franchise has gone from strength to strength and we are honoured to be recognised by The Banker,” says Martin Tricaud, FAB’s group head of investment banking.
While western Europe has been buffeted in recent years – Brexit, eurozone stasis, the war in Ukraine, and now rising inflation – its investment banks are still delivering high value to their clients. Impressively, Barclays outshone its peers in 2023 to take home the regional award. The bank has continued to capture market share and increase the number of deals in which it acts as lead manager.
Barclays advised on two of the top five deals announced in the first half of 2023: Glencore’s $32bn takeover of Teck Resources; and the $11.9bn buyout by private equity firm Silver Lake and Canadian pension fund CPPIB of software developer Qualtrics.
The bank has carved out a reputation for product innovation. It participated in what is believed to be the first-ever green non-dilutive convertible bond, a €400m five-year issue by Spanish renewable power company Iberdrola. It was also engaged on the first social/green dual tranche financial institutions group issuance, by German real estate and mortgage bank Berlin Hyp.
It participated in numerous other first-of-kind environmental, social and governance (ESG) transactions through the year. This included ESG framework structuring advisor on Wessex Water and GreenSquareAccord’s debut sustainability issues, and on Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank’s debut green issue.
Our continued focus on mergers and acquisitions, equity capital markets and strategic hedging are bearing fruit.
The bank showed its strengths in finding market windows. For example, following the installation of a new UK government and its poorly received “mini budget” in September 2022, Barclays reopened the UK pound markets following a significant pause due to volatility, including leading a £4.5bn 30-year green bond transaction for the UK’s Debt Management Office at the peak of market stress.
It also delivered the leveraged buyout of Envalior, an underwrite still outstanding from 2022, with the largest new money raise for a European issuer since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
“Our continued investment and focus on mergers and acquisitions, equity capital markets and strategic hedging are bearing fruit,” says Tim Main, head of investment banking Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Barclays.