FinanceAsia annouced the winners of its hotly-contested Australia and New Zealand awards in mid-December, recognising the best and the brightest in one of the most developed markets in Asia Pacific.
This week, we are explaining the justification for these decisions.
The following banks, corporations and law firms stood out from the crowd, impressing our judges with their ability to get the best terms for their clients — and themselves — in a highly-competitive environment.
The award winners and their clients will be honoured at our 14th annual Australia and New Zealand awards celebration dinner on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at the Park Hyatt on Sydney Harbour. For more information on this event, please contact Vicki Shaw at [email protected] or +61 2 9967 5774.
Click here for the write-ups of our Deal Awards, published yesterday.
BEST LOCAL COMMERCIAL BANK
Westpac’s commitment to increasing digitisation for corporate customers, and the fact that 93% of the top 100 companies on the Australian Securities Exchange bank with Westpac, make it the best local commercial bank for 2016. The bank has impressive breadth, boasting 900 transaction banking relationships across its network and offers a comprehensive suite of cash management, trade finance, and foreign exchange services from its local offices and through key global centres. During the year Westpac introduced a number of digital enhancements to reduce turn-around-times on client verification, open new payment channels, and offer greater access to pricing online. It is regularly touted as the best e-solutions partner bank in the country.
BEST FOREIGN COMMERCIAL BANK
More than 70% of Citi’s Australian clients have a multi-product relationship with the bank, and 44% use products from all three of its core divisions – transaction banking, markets, and capital markets. In 2016 the bank excelled at providing debt to customers, including some nifty structured and project finance packages such as the construction of the Webb Dock container terminal in the Port of Melbourne. In its treasury and trade business, Citi says it has completed the first two phases of a trade outsourcing solution for a major Australian bank, and its e-FX Platform — Citi Velocity Trading — continues to win awards for reliability and innovation.
BEST INVESTMENT BANK
UBS is the best investment bank in Australia for its role in many of our award-winning deals in 2016, including transactions for Mayne Pharma, AusNet, Qube and the New South Wales government’s sale of Ausgrid. UBS is a consistent originator and arranger of complex deals, and backs up this expertise with a strong dealer presence. It is one of the largest traders on the Australian Securities Exchange and is a key provider of liquidity in the secondary debt markets, including being ranked number one on dealer panels for government and semi-government bond issuers. We commend the bank for its proven ability to execute across all types of issuer, product and market.
BEST INVESTMENT BANK — NEW ZEALAND
A pure New Zealand player, Forsyth Barr captured our judges’ attention for showing consistent growth in its league table rankings, and pursuing a comprehensive strategy across mergers & acquisitions, equity capital markets and debt capital markets. We particularly liked its involvement in Vital Healthcare’s NZ$160 million ($111 million) rights issue, subordinated note issues for IAG, ASB and Westpac, and a refinancing program for TrustPower. It also played a role in the IPO for Investore. We look forward to seeing where the firm takes its M&A advisory business in 2017, and seeing how it keeps strong competitors like First New Zealand Capital on its toes.
CORPORATE ISSUER OF THE YEAR
Emerging from one of the most complex takeovers in Australian corporate history, in which it formed a consortium to acquire Patrick Container Terminals from Asciano, Qube is now Australia’s largest integrated third-party container logistics company. After the March acquisition, Qube undertook a A$494 million ($360 million) fully underwritten entitlement offer and a A$306 million placement, followed by an inaugural ASX-listed A$305 million subordinated note transaction in October. Of course, all of this was possible by Qube’s audacious A$1.7 billion share raid on Asciano in late 2015, which effectively blocked the original takeover by Brookfield and led to the company being acquired in pieces by several consortia.
FINANCIAL ISSUER OF THE YEAR
ANZ’s global name is a great asset when approaching institutional investors with novel capital markets transactions. In 2016, the bank achieved a number of daring manoeuvres, not least the first offshore hybrid for a major Australian bank since 2009. The order book for this perpetual non-call 10 year deal exceeded $18 billion, easily allowing ANZ to raise $1 billion of Basel-III compliant tier one capital at 6.75%. Another of ANZ’s clever gambits was its residential mortgage-backed securities print under Kingfisher Trust in December. The deal was upsized from A$750 million to A$2 billion and made ANZ the first to publicly offer notes across the full ratings spectrum from AAA through to unrated ‘equity’ notes.
BEST EQUITY HOUSE
UBS topped the equity capital market league tables in the year to December 1, 2016, in what was arguably a tough year for dealmakers. The Swiss bank captured a 20% share of the market, working on entitlement offers and placements for Qube (A$800 million), Mayne Pharma (A$888 million) and Virgin (A$1 billion). It was also sole underwriter on a A$872 million block trade for Link — the largest block sell-down of the year — and a A$159 million IPO for Autosports Group. UBS continues to employ more top-rated analysts in its research team than any other firm, and the bank is the largest provider of prime brokerage services in the market.
BEST M&A HOUSE
Under the guidance of one of the best execution bankers in the Australian market, Robin Bishop, Macquarie Capital wins our best M&A house award. In 2016 the bank used its considerable power to advise the Brookfield consortium on a highly complex and long-running public contest for control of Asciano. It then helped IFM Investors and AustralianSuper put together an all-Australian bid for a 50.4% lease of electricity distributor Ausgrid. At A$16.2 billion this was the largest ever unsolicited proposal seen in the market and took other interested bidders by surprise. Our judges also liked Macquarie’s defence work for Pacific Brands on its A$1.1 billion sale to US-based Hanesbrands.
BEST LOCAL BOND HOUSE
Having strong relationships with investors across the Asia-Pacific region gives ANZ the upper hand when building strong orderbooks and encouraging secondary market trading in Australian dollar-denominated transactions. Excluding self-led deals, ANZ was a leader in local bond origination in 2016, arranging domestic deals for both local and foreign corporates, as well as sovereigns and agencies. Some of its most notable deals, where investor demand was particularly strong, were a A$400 million seven- and 10-year bond for Airservices Australia, and Apple’s A$1.45 billion multi-tranche offering in June, which was the largest corporate capital raising of the year. ANZ also crafted clever issues for Nissan Financial Services and Toyota Motor Credit.
BEST INTERNATIONAL BOND HOUSE
Citi’s ability to execute bond transactions across a wide range of international jurisdictions makes it a stand-out global bond house. Not only did Citi pip rival JP Morgan in the non-Australian dollar-denominated DCM bookrunner rankings to December 1, 2016, it also led some of the more innovative deals of the year. These included the first offshore hybrid from an Australian major bank since 2009 in ANZ’s $1.5 billion perpetual non-call 10 year tier one issue in June, and Westpac’s inaugural $1.5 billion SEC-registered Basel-III compliant tier two transaction in November. However, it was Citi’s involvement in AusNet’s $375 million hybrid offering in March that especially won us over.
BEST DEBT FINANCE HOUSE
National Australia Bank
A leader in securitisation and structured loans, we could not look past National Australia Bank’s debt finance franchise for its consistent performance and smart innovation. In 2016 the bank crafted syndicated loan facilities for a range of corporate borrowers including sizeable transactions for Origin Energy, Woolworths and Viva Energy, as well as a long-tenor tap for unrated company National Storage which borrowed A$100 million in 10-year money thanks to NAB’s distribution channels and access to institutional investors. On the securitisation front, NAB topped the league tables with 23 deals and a 20% market share, according to Dealogic.
BEST FINANCIAL LAW FIRM
Allens has an unparalleled track record of creating novel solutions for clients engaged in capital management activities or structuring securities for issue in the domestic and international markets. In 2016 Allens advised on such transactions as the NSW government’s partial lease of electricity distributor Ausgrid, and the A$12.2 billion takeover of Asciano. The firm was also heavily involved in the infrastructure sector, advising local authorities on the building of a new container terminal in Victoria, the Forrestfield-Airport road link in Western Australia, and a light-rail project on the Gold Coast. Our judges also liked the firm’s commitment to diversity in its workforce.