Frank Sixt, group finance director at Hutchison Whampoa, was named capital markets person of the year for 2009 at FinanceAsia's annual Achievement Awards gala dinner on February 4.
Sixt has been with Hutchison since 1991 when he joined as an executive director and has been group finance director since 1998, overseeing the finances of what is arguably one of Hong Kong's most influential companies -- with five core businesses and operations in 54 countries. He is also chairman of TOM Group and sits on the board of several other companies within the Cheung Kong group, including Cheung Kong (Holdings) itself.
In 2009 he steered Hutchison through three bond issues, two senior debt buybacks and one exchange offer, using part of the money raised from the former to pay for the latter.
He also helped Hutchison Telecom International to spin off its mobile businesses in Hong Kong and Macau for a separate listing on the Hong Kong exchange, paving the way for a proposed privatisation of HTIL by Hutchison that was announced last month and which is ongoing right now.
A key aim of the debt transactions -- both the new issues and the buybacks and exchanges -- was to lengthen the maturity of the company's outstanding debt and reduce its annual interest costs, using the drop in bond prices in late 2008 and early 2009 in its favour.
Of course, lots of companies were doing this last year. But the scale of Hutchison's grand plan was comparable to no other. For one, it raised a combined $7.1 billion of fresh capital from the three new issues and contributed significantly to the fact that 2009 ended up being a record year in the Asian bond markets.
Before last year, Hutchison hadn't sold US dollar bonds since 2003, but it didn't take long after its return in April 2009 for it to once again be described as one of Asia's savviest and most sophisticated borrowers. It timed its transactions well and read the market almost to perfection in terms of what size, maturity and structure would get it the best possible price at a specific time -- while at the same time delivering transactions that were well received by investors.
Sixt played no small role getting these things right, making him a worthy winner of our capital markets person of the year for 2009.
In total, we handed out 44 awards at the dinner. Citi collected the Best Commercial Bank and Best Bank awards, while Morgan Stanley picked up the award for Best Investment Bank.
Geraint Anderson, author of Cityboy - Beer and Loathing in the Square Mile was our guest speaker and Goldman Sachs won the all-important quiz, collecting a crate of champagne for its efforts.
More than 375 bankers, lawyers and corporate executives turned up for the black-tie event that carried on at a neighbouring bar after the show was over.