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Mongolia: Banks mandated in landmark mining IPO

BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Macquarie were selected in late February by the Mongolian government to run the IPO of the country’s Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi mining assets, according to sources familiar with the deal. The IPO, which is expected to raise more than $2 billion, is viewed as a potential landmark for Mongolia. Consequently, the world’s top investment banks have been pitching furiously in Ulaan Baatar since January this year. Officials at the banks named told Euromoney that they did not wish to comment on the deal, presumably for fear of offending their rumoured client. However, three independent sources have confirmed the four firms as being mandated.

The deal has been hotly contested. There have been widespread reports of a fight between bankers from two US firms not mandated on the deal taking place at an Irish bar in Ulaan Baatar, and a source involved with the pitching process describes the banks involved throwing their top-level staff at the mandate.

"I’ve never seen flights to Ulaan Baatar so loaded with Asia heads of IBD [investment banking] and ECM [equity capital markets]," says the source, "most of whom have probably never been to Mongolia in their lives."

Tavan Tolgoi is the name given to a collection of coal deposits in Mongolia, thought to contain 6.4 billion tonnes. The government has been soliciting strategic investors, mining contractors, and investment banks to run the IPO, which is expected to take place towards the end of this year.

Euromoney will publish a detailed feature length investigation into the pitching process, the challenges posed by the deal and its significance for Mongolia in May.

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