The following award winners and their clients will be honoured at our 12th annual Australia and NZ awards dinner on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at the Park Hyatt on Sydney Harbour. For more information on this event, please contact Vicki Shaw at [email protected] or +61 2 9437 3070.
BEST LOCAL COMMERCIAL BANK
ANZ remains a preferred banking partner for many of Australia’s top companies thanks to its expertise in loans, cash and liquidity management, commodity and trade finance, and foreign exchange. ANZ has one of the largest loan syndications teams in Asia-Pacific, comprising of 41 professionals across 13 cities; and one of the largest trade finance franchises. In a recent customer satisfaction survey, the bank ranked number one for the provision of innovative trade solutions to both institutional and corporate clients. As global markets continue to fluctuate, ANZ’s ability to cross sell and manage narrowing margins will increasingly hinge on the development of its strong trade finance relationships – and, in this area, ANZ is ahead of the competition.
BEST FOREIGN COMMERCIAL BANK
For cross-sell effectiveness and creative solutions, Citi is the pre-eminent foreign commercial bank in Australia. In the treasury and trade services arena, the bank delivers working capital and cash management solutions to over 500 clients in the country. Its products range from standard cash deposit accounts to unique payables capabilities in over 130 currencies, to online, real-time aggregation of client accounts across the globe. In 2014, 79% of the banks clients had a multi-product relationship with Citi. On DCM transactions, the bank has the ability to move large sums of cash around the world, execute cross-currency swaps and act as billing and delivery agent.
BEST INVESTMENT BANK
Goldman Sachs has the illustrious honour of winning this award for the first time in FinanceAsia’s 12-year history of annual achievement honours. The bank had an outstanding year, leading important transactions such as Medibank Private’s IPO, Transurban’s purchase of Queensland Motorways, Woodside’s enormous block trade, and the sale of Envestra to overseas buyers. It was also the only bank to lead all inaugural Basel III compliant bonds issued by local banks, including a stellar deal for Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. In the debt markets it also led Virgin Australia’s debut US high-yield deal and Origin Energy’s benchmark €1 billion hybrid. Goldman’s capabilities span all markets, all currencies and all investor bases.
BEST INVESTMENT BANK — NEW ZEALAND
UBS leads its New Zealand business with a strong equity and debt capital markets franchise. The global bank topped the ECM league tables acting as joint lead manager on the NZ$733 million IPO of Genesis Energy, which with careful execution and innovative structuring was the first asset in the government’s state disposal programme not to trade below its IPO price at listing; and as JLM on Metro Performance Glass’s NZ$244 million IPO. In the debt capital markets it raised the equivalent of $1.86 billion from seven bond transactions including landmark deals for the New Zealand Debt Management Office, and euromarket transactions for Westpac, ANZ and Auckland Council.
CORPORATE ISSUER OF THE YEAR
Market commentators expect the technology sector to lead cross-border M&A activity into 2015, a trend set by Aristocrat Leisure this year when it made a $1.3 billion all-cash bid for US company Video Gaming Technologies. Aristocrat is named our corporate issuer of the year for this transaction and for the acquisition and debt refinancing package that underpinned the deal, including an audacious $1.3 billion term loan B transaction and an underwritten A$375 million equity raising. The company and its advisers were able to pinpoint the most attractive markets to tap and overcome some significant complexities to give Aristocrat access to long-dated tenor and covenant-lite terms.
FINANCIAL ISSUER OF THE YEAR
Bendigo & Adelaide Bank
As the Australian regulator moves to bolster capital standards in line with global norms, Bendigo & Adelaide Bank’s fund raising efforts this year have made it stronger than any of the country’s major banks in terms of capital standing. The bank issued a successful CPS2 Tier-1 capital notes offering in September – a deal that was upsized to A$292 million from an original target of A$250 million. But what stood out for our judges was an Australian dollar subordinated benchmark 10-year non-call-five floating rate note transaction in January – the first Basel III compliant Tier-2 issue to be marketed entirely to institutional investors. The strength of demand for the transaction demonstrated that the domestic institutional market is not only willing to invest in such instruments, but can provide pricing and volume comparable to the ASX-listed market.
BEST EQUITY HOUSE
As the Australian IPO market continued to prosper this year, Macquarie topped the league tables, playing a leading role in most of the key transactions including primary offerings for Medibank Private, Healthscope, Genworth and iSentia. More broadly, Macquarie advised on 24 different equity raisings for a variety of clients including follow-ons for Duet Group, Charter Hall Retail Reit and Greencross. Macquarie maintains dedicated Australian equity sales desks in Asia, Europe and the US allowing it to channel large fund flows into Australian equities. It has more than 400 sales people covering 2,000 clients in 26 financial centres and supports its clients with quality stock analysis and well-written research reports.
BEST M&A HOUSE
Underpinning Goldman Sach’s award as Best Investment Bank this year is its outstanding performance in completed mergers and acquisitions. With a client list including Envestra, State Grid, Transurban, Wesfarmers, Oil Search, Aurora and Australand, the bank has acted as both acquirer and defence advisor on more than A$46 billion worth of completed deals. One notable transaction was advising the Transurban consortium on its acquisition of Queensland Motorways. The bidding process was competitive and completed in an accelerate timeframe, with other bidders comprising groups of both strategic and financial investors. The press reported that the under-bidder’s price was within 1% of Transurban’s offer, pointing to some savvy advice from Goldman Sachs.
BEST LOCAL BOND HOUSE
ANZ’s debt and structured capital markets team comprises over 60 employees covering Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Singapore and Hong Kong. The bank is continually adapting and developing its execution strategies in order to achieve innovative transactions for clients, and its regional distribution platform enables it to attract an increasing level of participation from Asian investors. In 2014, its list of benchmark transactions included a A$525 million 7-year deal for Aurizon, a A$500 million debut Kangaroo for Anglo American and a A$300 million inaugural deal for Mitsubishi Corporation Finance. Each of these deals were heavily oversubscribed and attracted significant orders from offshore accounts.
BEST INTERNATIONAL BOND HOUSE
Raising over $6.5 billion in the offshore debt capital markets for clients in 2014, Citi’s global network and market insight make it the best international bond house in Australia. The bank keeps clients abreast of potential financing opportunities by arranging regular inbound visits from its offshore teams and taking clients on international roadshows. Our judges particularly liked Citi’s role in a $3.5 billion four-tranche deal for Westfield, a €350 million 10-year EMTN for Melbourne Airport, and a €350 million private placement for CSL (marking the third consecutive placement for CSL since 2011). It is this ability to do repeat deals for repeat customers that makes Citi a stand-out.
BEST DEBT FINANCE HOUSE
Westpac continues to lead the pack in offering debt solutions to clients including acquisition, project and syndicating finance. In an environment where multiple banks act as leads on syndicated loans, Westpac was appointed as sole lead on 13 transactions in 2014, including deals for Goodman Fielder, CBH Grain and Dulux. Westpac also played a joint role on several of the biggest transactions of the year including an A$875 million in debt facilities for Port of Newcastle Investments, A$2.9 billion in acquisition financing for the Transurban Consortium, A$1.5 billion in project finance for North West Rail Link and A$1.3 billion for the Westlink M7 project. Westpac was also one of several banks on Roy Hill’s massive $7.2 billion loan facility.
BEST FINANCIAL LAW FIRM
King & Wood Mallesons
In a neck and neck race to the finish line, KWM is this year’s best financial law firm for supporting its clients on some of the market’s biggest, most complex and cutting-edge transactions. These deals have reshaped the commercial and legal landscape, confirming KWM’s position as a leading law firm in Australia and a rising global competitor. We commend the firm for its work on IPOs for Medibank Private and Spotless, the restructure and merger of Westfield Trust, the sale of Queensland Motorways, and the CPPIB/Dexus takeover of Commonwealth Property Office Fund. KWM also gets top marks for innovation by working on the first RMB denominated bond in Australia and Woolworth’s A$400 million syndicated fronted bank guarantee facility backed by global insurers.
BEST IPO (Joint)
Medibank Private, A$5.68 billion
Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Macquarie Capital
Size isn’t everything, but it’s hard to ignore the A$5.68 billion privatisation of Medibank Private in November as the second largest IPO ever in Australia and the largest in 17 years. An innovative 24-hour preferential allocation policy encouraged institutional investors to bid early and at a firm price, providing strong momentum in the book and giving the government the confidence to increase the indicative price range. In the end, though, it was Australia’s retail investors who won out – making approximately 440,000 individual applications worth A$17 billion. Brokers, retail investors and policyholders cornered 60% of the shares at a final price of A$2 each versus A$2.15 for institutions.
Healthscope, A$2.3 billion
CIMB, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Macquarie Capital, Merrill Lynch, UBS
Healthscope’s return to the public markets in July indicated the market for private equity exits was well and truly open in 2014. The transaction was supported by vendors TPG and Carlyle who committed to retaining a 38% stake in the business, and it was the first time in Australia that a significant proportion of an IPO had been sold to cornerstones before a prospectus was lodged. In total, more than 110 institutions bid into the bookbuild, two-thirds of them from overseas. The deal priced above the mid-point of the bookbuild range, was multiple times covered and traded higher on the first day. Since then it has outperformed the broader S&P/ASX200 index.
BEST SECONDARY OFFERING
Transurban AREO, A$2.34 billion
Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley
Government asset sales require maximum funding certainty for an extended period and our judges picked this deal for its size and innovative underwriting structure. The proceeds were used to partially fund the acquisition of Queensland Motorways (see our Best M&A Deal) and Transurban needed a structure that would allow it to complete the deal without a bridge facility. The underwriters guaranteed a maximum discount for 30 days which converted to a fixed price underwrite when the Transurban consortium was named the successful bidder. Limited termination events and a A$400 million placement to consortium members AustralianSuper and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority buttressed the transaction and tightened overall pricing.
BEST HYBRID DEAL
Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Tier-2 subordinated notes, A$300 million
Goldman Sachs, Nomura, National Australia Bank
Bendigo & Adelaide Bank’s Australian dollar subordinated benchmark 10-year non-call-five floating-rate note transaction in January was the first Basel III compliant Tier-2 issue to be marketed entirely to institutional investors. Utilising positive momentum generated by an investor roadshow, nearly 60% of the bonds were sold to asset managers and another 5% to private banks, while 22% of investors hailed from Asian countries. The deal was upsized from A$300 million and priced at three-month BBSW plus 280 basis points. The notes qualify as Tier-2 capital under the local regulator’s capital adequacy standards, building on Bendigo & Adelaide Bank’s strong capital standing, and putting it ahead of the country’s big four domestic banks.
BEST M&A DEAL
Transurban Consortium’s A$7.1 billion acquisition of Queensland Motorways
Adviser to Queensland Motorways: Grant Samuel, Macquarie, UBS
Adviser to Transurban Group: Aquasia, Goldman Sachs, Lazard, Morgan Stanley
Toll road projects have a chequered history in Australia, but the purchase of Queensland Motorways by the Transurban Consortium in April 2014 shows that investments in these infrastructure assets can be accretive when executed at the right time and with the right advice. Transurban’s bid was supported by its proven ability to achieve synergy savings and improve performance metrics in previous acquisitions; and the presence of institutional investors AustralianSuper and Tawreed added certainty to the fully funded transaction. The bidding process was competitive and completed in an accelerate timeframe, with the press reporting that the under-bidder’s price was within 1% of Transurban’s offer.
BEST LOCAL BOND DEAL
AGL Energy 7-year senior unsecured bond, A$600 million
ANZ, National Australia Bank
AGL Energy’s inaugural senior-unsecured Australian dollar deal came after a month of market volatility but this didn’t stop the borrower from executing the largest-ever single-tranche triple-B corporate deal at a tight price. The final order book was 4.25 times oversubscribed which is unprecedented in this credit band, with a total of A$840 million committed from 54 accounts. AGL conducted investor meetings in Hong Kong and Singapore leading to 20% of the bonds being sold to Asian investors. Meanwhile, the strong demand from domestic accounts was evidence of a long-standing desire by Australian investment funds to add diversity to their portfolios.
BEST INTERNATIONAL BOND DEAL
Scentre Group Euromarket bond, €1.6 billion and £400 million
Barclays, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, HSBC
Scentre Group wasted no time establishing a bond curve in the European markets in July with a four-tranche deal of euro and sterling denominated bonds. Scentre was formed out of the demerger of Westfield Group’s Australia/NZ business and merger with Westfield Retail Trust (see our Most Innovative Deal), and the July bond was its first foray into the debt capital markets as a new entity. The transaction required market, investor, documentation and regulatory analysis given the new company and credit. Still, the bookrunners were able to generate more than €5 billion in orders in just over 12 hours and price all four tranches at the tight end of guidance, demonstrating a deep pool of demand for Australian corporate borrowers.
BEST DEBT FINANCE DEAL
Aristocrat Leisure term loan B acquisition finance, $1.3 billion
Citi, Merrill Lynch, Nomura, UBS
To fund its cash bid for Tennessee-based Video Gaming Technologies, Aristocrat Leisure tapped the term loan B market for long-dated covenant-lite debt. The US market gave the company access to a deep pool of liquidity and also provided a natural hedge to the cash flows generated in the new business. UBS offered a 100% underwrite on the deal until after the acquisition was announced and then other banks were brought in. Successful syndication was achieved despite significant market headwinds and widening spreads at the time. Aristocrat is the first Australian-listed company to target the US leveraged loan markets for acquisition financing.
MOST INNOVATIVE DEAL
Westfield demerger and creation of Scentre Group
Advisers to Westfield Group: JP Morgan, Rothschild
Advisers to Westfield Retail Trust: Morgan Stanley, UBS
Noteworthy for its colossal size as well as its pioneering structure, the demerger of Westfield Group’s Australia/NZ business and merger with Westfield Retail Trust to create the Scentre Group wins our Most Innovative Deal award. The transaction has been widely recognised as making strategic sense, allowing investors to benefit from a fully internalised property management business and removing restrictions on where Scentre Group can invest. The highly complex process included both an adjustment of terms and an unprecedented adjournment of a security holders’ meeting. The newly formed Scentre Group is now the largest A-Reit and a top 20 entity on the Australian Stock Exchange, with arguably the highest quality internally managed shopping centre portfolio in Australia.
BEST PROJECT FINANCE DEAL
Roy Hill syndicated loan facility, $7.2 billion
BNP Paribas, National Australia Bank, ANZ, Bank of China, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, CBA, HSBC, ICBC, ING, Korea Finance Corp, Mizuho Bank, OCBC, SMBC, Societe Generale, Westpac
Everything about Gina Rinehart’s iron ore project at Roy Hill in Western Australia is awesome, not least the $7.2 billion loan facility secured to complete the funding package. The large quantum of debt was provided by direct, tied and covered loans extended by a group of export credit agencies and uncovered direct and hedging loans from 19 commercial banks. Debt advisers BNP Paribas and NAB were able to deliver a bankable credit structure without the provision of completion guarantees – a feat for a relatively low-profile privately held borrower. The process was made extra tricky by limited transparency in the iron ore markets, and significant volatility in global iron ore prices – volatility that has continued unabated.
BEST NEW ZEALAND DEAL
Metro Performance Glass IPO, NZ$244 million
Forsyth Barr, Macquarie, UBS
While the Genesis Energy IPO is commendable for its size and aftermarket performance, the public float of Metro Performance Glass showed deft execution ability in challenging market conditions and with a degree of negative public sentiment towards the company. The financial sponsor vendors were able to achieve an 80% sell-down in a compressed timeframe. The price was set at NZ$1.70 and the book was more than two times subscribed. The high-quality register was underpinned by a large early retail cornerstone, and the presence of five substantial shareholders – three from New Zealand and two from offshore. Strong aftermarket support has seen the stock outperform the broader index and should lead to Metro Performance Glass entering the NZX50 index in the near future.