Deals of the year 2002: Bear market courage

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Bear markets breed their own types of deals - balance sheet repair, restructuring, liability management, monetization of illiquid assets, securitization, opportunistic acquisitions. The pace and intensity of such deals may vary between the long hard slog and sudden bursts of activity, but companies and bankers that do well in them tend to share certain characteristics: a refusal to accept defeat, creativity that may be inspired by desperation, and a determination to deal with complexity and hold their nerve. Banks must sometimes underwrite risks they would rather not take, just to complete deals.

Luck plays its part too. So does the cold-blooded drive to seize opportunities from others' despair. The Euromoney deals of the year for 2002 show all these traits. For refusal to accept defeat, see how the Williams Companies, facing a withdrawal of bank credit and near bankruptcy, packed into a week asset sales and securitized loans that might have dragged on for months in a bull market. For nerve, look at the Bank of China (Hong Kong) IPO amid collapsing markets. For complexity, see NTL's restructuring of over 30 bond, loan and stock issues. For creativity, see Solvay raising cash from a put option on a joint venture. For risk-taking and opportunism look everywhere. 

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