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Asia - Best high-grade corporate borrower


The award for the best high-grade borrower was fiercely contested, with the market split between Hutchison Whampoa in Hong Kong and Petronas of Malaysia. Many compliments were paid to both. Hutchison, it was said, was able and willing to tap whatever market was necessary to raise its funds. However, this said, some bankers seem to have forgotten that while Hutchison did successfully get away a number of deals this year, some were not that well received. In September a deal blew up that meant the corporate had to tactically retreat. In February Hutchison overpaid with Merrill Lynch and then the following month it made its book runner Goldman Sachs grovel for business and got away with not paying any fees.

Oil company Petronas, which admittedly can ride on the coat-tails of the sovereign, cannot be accused of any of these faults in the past 12 months. A banker says: "Petronas is not greedy and doesn't squeeze the investor community down to the last basis point. It's important sometimes for a borrower to leave a little bit on the table for the investor. And Petronas does just that."

Nobody says the same about Hutchison.

Petronas's main financial strategy is to keep $6 billion on its balance sheet.

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