Best underwriter of euro and global bonds
Merrill Lynch led 501 Euro and global bond deals from May 1999 to the end of last month, more than any other lead manager. The firm has bounced back strongly in this key sector, following its nervous and probably misguided retrenchment in the wake of the 1998 Russian crisis. Despite personnel turnover, Merrill has quickly reaffirmed the leadership in international bond markets it built so proudly in the late 1990s.
Its recent track record of deals includes a large number of jumbo transactions for frequent borrowers, for emerging market sovereigns and corporates, as well as ground-breaking corporate deals, innovative structures and introductions of new issuers.
Like most big US investment banks, Merrill took a big share of bond mandates from the large federal agencies, Fannie Mae leading the way. Merrill led or joint-led $43 billion of bonds for Fannie Mae between May 1999 and June 2000, just ahead of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, with $41.8 billion.
Merrill has also led a string of big corporate deals for European and US issuers, notably Ford, GMAC and GECC, as well as more challenging globals, for example for A-rated US consumer finance company Household International.