Deals of the year 1998: It's the taking part that counts

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In a year in which deals of all shapes and sizes were pulled, plaudits go to all equity and bond issuers who were able to complete their deals at all. Some stars of the past - Asian project deals, Latin American corporate bonds and eastern European privatizations - barely made it to the finishing line. But one muscle-clad team of super-athletes swept the board in 1998. This was the year of the telecoms industry: from the stodgiest emerging-market monopoly to the most glamourous builder of fibre-optic networks, telecoms operators were everybody's favourite performers.

They gave us some of the biggest equity deals ever. Swisscom, Endesa IV and DoCoMo, for example, between them raised $34 billion. And Brazil's privatization of Telebrás brought in a further $19 billion. In the debt markets it was also a year of heavy-weight deals: big, liquid bond issues for highly creditworthy borrowers such as Fannie Mae's Benchmark Notes programme and DePfa's jumbo Pfandbriefe. But there was also room for innovative deals: ABN Amro showing the way for European banks in raising tier-one capital; Colt's three-tier financing comprising equity, debt and convertibles; and Cecchi Gori's film-rights securitization to name but three. Some of last year's bravest finishers were the deals done amid the worst of Asia's crisis: Tri-Energy, a rare Asian project financing and Korea's determined $4 billion bond issue for example. Then there were the hardy pioneers who led the way out of the markets' Russian stupor: Royal KPN which opened the market for corporate borrowers, Thames Water which did the same for the sterling sector, Hermes, NTL and CalEnergy in the European high-yield markets; and Associates, with its $4.8 billion issue, the first true credit deal after the crisis. Over the next 30 pages we profile these and other transactions - our winning deals of 1998.

THE DEALS OF THE YEAR

BEST IPOs: Selling telecoms in a storm

BEST US HIGH-YIELD ISSUE: Name recognition counts for CalEnergy

BEST US IPO: eBay expands the net

BEST FINANCIAL INSTITUTION ISSUE: Associates makes new friends

BEST M&A DEAL: Texas makes the bankers work

BEST HIGH-GRADE CORPORATE ISSUE: Royal KPN keeps its crown

BEST SECONDARY OFFERING: Endesa electrifies investors

BEST ACQUISITION FINANCING: Grovebase wins the chase

BEST PRIVATE PLACEMENT: Mapfre raises the Latin stakes

BEST PROJECT FINANCING: Tri Energy tries harder

BEST BLOCK TRADE: Take-off for BSkyB

BEST TELECOM FINANCING: Colt’s last-minute hat-trick

BEST EQUITY-LINKED ISSUE: Bell beats the odds

BEST ENERGY FINANCING: Zhonghua powers ahead

BEST PRIVATIZATION OF THE YEAR: Cashing in on Telebrás

BEST BANK CAPITAL RAISING: ABN Amro’s European record

BEST INTERNATIONAL ISSUE IN DOLLARS AND BEST US AGENCY ISSUE: Fannie Mae saves the day

BEST ASSET-BACKED ISSUE (RECEIVABLES): Cecchi Gori shoots for glory

BEST INTERNATIONAL ISSUE IN DEUTSCHMARKS: Smoking gun misses Philip Morris

BEST ASSET-BACKED ISSUE (CLO): Deutsche ups the ante

BEST INTERNATIONAL ISSUE IN EUROS: Italy's surprise success

BEST INTERNATIONAL SYNDICATED LOAN: Size matters for GEC

BEST INTERNATIONAL ISSUE IN FRANCS: Canada embraces franc

BEST US SYNDICATED LOAN: Seagram learns the joy of Flex

BEST INTERNATIONAL ISSUE IN STERLING: Thames opens floodgates

BEST MTN ISSUE: Italy off to a flying start

BEST INTERNATIONAL ISSUE IN YEN: World Bank times it right

BEST PFANDBRIEF ISSUE: DePfa makes a splash

BEST SUPRANATIONAL ISSUE: World Bank’s euro debut

BEST ASIAN ISSUE: Korea resolute in repayment

BEST INVESTMENT-GRADE CORPORATE ISSUE: Ford drives home a strategic deal

BEST CENTRAL EUROPEAN ISSUE: TPSA rings the bell

BEST MUNICIPAL BOND ISSUE: The appeal of Long Island

BEST MIDDLE EAST ISSUE: Lebanon leverages good name

BEST EUROPEAN HIGH-YIELD ISSUES: Kick-starting the market

BEST LATIN AMERICAN DEALS