Lazard has appointed Glenn Porritt as its new head of Singapore investment banking, concentrating on mergers and acquisitions in the city-state. He will report to Antonio Weiss, global head of investment banking in New York, as the firm does not have a regional head in Asia.
Porritt’s appointment fills a post that has been left fallow since the departure in 2010 of Harish Parameswar. Last month Parameswar joined Islamic Bank of Asia to be its new head of investment banking, based in Singapore.
Porritt will lead a team of six bankers in Singapore and join a roster of 80 bankers that Lazard has in eight offices in the region. He joins from ANZ where he was head of Asian M&A. He joined ANZ in London in 1997 and moved with the Australian bank to Singapore in 1999 to establish its Asian M&A business. He came to ANZ from KPMG’s corporate finance division in Hong Kong.
While at ANZ, Porritt advised Asian agribusiness firm Wilmar International on its $1.5 billion acquisition of Sucrogen from Australian conglomerate CSR in 2010. Lazard was on the other side of that deal. Lazard’s Singapore office is also advising SMB United on a S$200 million ($160 million) cash offer by Osaki Electric, a deal that is ongoing. In 2010 the Singapore office also advised Mangas Gaming on its $167 million acquisition of Everest Gaming, and EEMS Group on its $68 million sale of EEMS Test Singapore to ASE Test.
The hire is the latest in a slow but steady build Lazard is undertaking in the region. In March last year it hired Yan Lan as head of Greater China investment banking from French law firm Gide Loyrette Nouel. In July last year it hired Peter Kuo from Cowen to be its head of Asian equity capital markets advisory based in Hong Kong. Last month the firm hired Mark Renton in New York as a managing director in its financial advisory group focusing on oil and gas deals. Readers will remember Renton from his time as head of Citi’s Asia-Pacific investment banking business from 2005 to 2009. When he left Asia in September 2010 he was global co-head of the public sector group.
Porritt will focus on advising Singaporean firms on M&A opportunities not only within Singapore but across the region, while increasingly looking at the global opportunities that are present for cash rich Asian companies. For instance, at the end of last year Lazard advised on Tokio Marine’s $2.7 billion acquisition of US insurance company Delphi Financial Group, one of a string of recent global M&A deals involving Japanese companies taking advantage of the strong yen and their strong balance sheets.
“We are anticipating continued growth of M&A in Singapore and across Southeast Asia,” said Antonio Weiss, global head of investment banking at Lazard. “We expect that Glenn’s depth of experience will be beneficial to the firm and our clients in the region.”