Euromoney's best borrowers of 1998
As our awards show, the world's best borrowers have turned adversity to their advantage.
This year's best borrowers have excelled in what has been a rollercoaster ride in the international capital markets. Debt and equity issuance continued to break records. The asset-backed market is booming. A true high-yield market has begun to develop in Europe. Leveraged loans are now - according to Standard & Poor's - a true asset class. And the syndicated loan market has seen jumbo euro issuance, the introduction of soft pricing, raging arguments over fees and new types of loan/bond hybrid.
All this activity and innovation has occurred in arguably the most difficult environment since the tequila crisis in Latin America. The meltdowns in Korea, Thailand and Indonesia highlighted these countries' high levels of foreign borrowing and their reliance on short-term debt. The continued stagnation in Japan has unsettled the markets, and investors there - particularly the life companies and corporate pension fund managers - need a new paradigm if they are to survive.
On a more positive note, Europe can look forward for the first time to a large, liquid, unified bond and equity market denominated in its new currency the euro. A number of those winning awards this year did so for their foresight and courage in opening this new market.