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CAPITAL MARKETS

Asian equities: Bankers prepared for 2011 reality check

IPO outlook solid for 2011; Banks fear investor euphoria threatens danger

Leading bankers in the region say the outlook for capital markets in Asia is good in 2011 but that they will struggle to repeat last year’s record-breaking levels of equity issuance. According to figures from Dealogic, issuers in Asia (ex Japan) raised a total of $158 billion through initial public offerings in 2010 (as of December 21), smashing through the $100 billion mark for the first time. That constituted 57.5% of global IPO volumes.

In the league tables, the big story is the possibility that in 2011 UBS will be unseated as top dog for volume in Asia. Led by the volumes generated by Chinese dealmaker Henry Cai (now with Deutsche Bank), UBS has topped the volume charts in Asia in the past few years and looked as if it had clung on to the top spot at the end of 2010 despite the predictions of competitors. Dealogic’s table had the firm top in Asia Pacific (ex Japan) rankings, with $29.6 billion-worth of deals, as against second-placed Goldman Sachs with $24 billion. Morgan Stanley climbed to third place from last year’s fifth, with $22.6 billion.

Silence

Competitors have been briefing all year that UBS is not the force it was in Asia-Pacific equities, having lost global capital markets head (Asia) Steve Barg and Asia equity capital markets head Mark Williams as well as Cai and team, so their successors will be pleased to have retained the top spot in both volume and revenue rankings for 2010.

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