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Best project finance:

Credit Suisse First Boston

Awards for Excellence 2000

It may not be the largest arranger of project finance deals, but CSFB has over the past 18 months proved itself to be the most innovative. Project finance as a business has been changing dramatically since 1997, and CSFB has been at the forefront.

The Asian and Russian crises in 1997 and 1998 precipitated a shakeout in the number of financial institutions prepared to take part.

Most of the Japanese houses have pulled out, or pulled back, and the departure from the business of others, such as UBS, has left fewer houses controlling larger slices of the pie at a time when banks are less likely to want to commit huge chunks of capital.

Also, the needs of many of the clients are starting to change, especially in developed markets. "The leading edge of the project finance world is characterized by more complex structures, such as merchant client construction programmes," says Adebayo Ogunlesi, global head of project finance for CSFB.

In other words, project finance clients no longer think exclusively in terms of single project-single financing. Such deals are time-consuming, costly to arrange, and limit the company's focus to a deal rather than a business strategy.

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