UBS eyes resources deals in M&A leadership shake-up

Greg Peirce will be sole head of Asia-Pacific M&A, while a pair of China-focused bankers will drive deals in the promising resources sector.

UBS is reorganising its mergers and acquisitions business for Asia-Pacific region, betting on increased activity as Chinese companies gear up for a fresh round of deals, especially in the resources sector.

As part of the restructuring, UBS has handed Greg Peirce full responsibility for its mergers and acquisitions business for Asia-Pacific region, the bank said in an internal memo seen by FinanceAsia this week.

Peirce's former co-head of M&A, Pei Shen Chou, takes on a new role as head of Asia natural resources amid expectations that deals in the sector will heat up as China seeks deals overseas to improve its energy security and provide the materials it needs to maintain its economic growth.

The value of M&As in China's energy sector rose 22.5% year on year to $45.9 billion last year, with deals such as privately owned conglomerate CEFC China Energy taking stakes in Russia's Rosneft and EN+

Meanwhile Beijing is also looking to consolidate its crowded domestic energy sector. Last year, Beijing approved the merger of coal mining firm Shenhua and electricity producer China Guodian in a move to boost efficiency of energy use.

By contrast dealmaking in China's energy, basic materials and utilies sector dropped by 50% to $77.1 billion last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Peirce will relocate to Hong Kong from Sydney to run the regional franchise, while maintaining coverage of some local Australian clients. Peirce joined the bank as an intern in 2000 and rose to become co-head of Australasia coverage and advisory in 2014 and then co-head of Asia Pacific M&A in 2017. Peirce will work closely with Samson Lo, head of Asia M&A.

Chou, a China-focused banker, joined the lender from Deutsche Bank last year.

“Improving our market position and integration within the region is a strategic priority for 2018,” David Chin, head of corporate client solutions (CCS) for the Asia-Pacific region, wrote in the memo. “We see increasing activities in the natural resources sector in China and Asia region and need to enhance our client coverage”

CCS is the investment banking arm of UBS, providing deal advisory and equity and debt underwriting to its clients.

Given the emphasis on the Chinese resources sector, Ben Yang will move to UBS Securities, the Chinese onshore arm of the lender, to drive coverage in the sector onshore. Yang joined UBS in 2015 and has over 15 years advising on natural resources, particularly for Chinese corporates.

Chou and Yang will work closely with Calvin O’Shaughnessy, head of  Asia Pacific natural resources, who is based in Australia.

Chin, a veteran dealmaker, was bought back to the banking industry in August last year, as part of the lender’s efforts to focus on reducing bureaucracy and ensuring clear and full accountability. 

UBS ranked third behind Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley in Dealogic's Asia Pacific ex-Japan M&A league table for 2017, which was dropped from second place in 2016.

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