Western Europe’s best bank for financing 2021: BNP Paribas
It’s not often any bank sits above JPMorgan in an important financing league table, but BNP Paribas far outstrips the US bank as a bookrunner both of syndicated loans and of debt capital markets deals for borrowers in western Europe.
The bank is now also making a big effort to enhance its position in primary equity markets. Renaud-Franck Falce, head of capital markets, EMEA, tells Euromoney: “Our debt markets and ECM teams have worked hand in glove, which was key in a period like no other, when clients were relying more than ever on an integrated capital markets assessment and a well-coordinated offering.”
When some clients were in disarray, the bank helped them take a logical sequence of steps, starting with syndicated loans. Falce recalls: “The markets had to reopen with a high level of confidence that certain key providers would supply liquidity – the central banks and the banks delivered. The syndicated loan market restarted first within weeks from the beginning of the crisis, when a few banks – you could count them on one hand – assumed large underwriting risk and showed that they were capable of distributing it very fast.”
Signalling of access to capital and to liquidity followed. BNP Paribas was sole underwriter and bookrunner on a $10 billion hybrid capital deal for BP, which reassured ratings agencies, bondholders and shareholders.
BNP Paribas was able to bring borrowers from some of the hardest hit sectors back to the bond market, for example leading a couple of deals for Airbus and a three-tranche €2.5 billion deal for Paris Aeroport, the first from an airport operator since the pandemic broke.
Showing those integrated capabilities, BNP Paribas underwrote Rolls Royce’s return to the funding markets in October 2020 with a £1 billion revolving credit facility. Behind the scenes, the bank had worked with the company on an exhaustive financing plan that progressed from the underwritten liquidity facility to an equity raise through a £2.3 billion rights issue and also included a £2 billion bond, doubled from its initial indicated size after attracting a big order book. This added tenor to the earlier deals bringing liquidity and capital.