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Awards for excellence - Best project finance house

Awards for Excellence 2005

BNP Paribas

The French bank has maintained an impressive breadth of business across the globe

Christophe Rousseau

Few project finance banks have managed to maintain a consistent global presence in the past 12 months. US lenders remain, for the most part, uninterested in the product, and Japanese banks, although buoyed by active Japanese corporations and some sharp individuals, have been uninspired.

European lenders have been more impressive, particularly the Spanish banks, which have benefited from a strong domestic market, as well as the activities of Spanish sponsors overseas. In this respect, Cintra's financing for the Chicago Skyway, a landmark purchase of a US infrastructure asset, is notable. The lead arrangers – Depfa Bank, Calyon, Santander and BBVA – will be looking to replicate the deal both in the US and for Cintra elsewhere.

But the Spanish banks, while probable future award-winners, are still too wedded to their core clients, and the most impressive lenders to public-private partnerships – Depfa and Dexia in particular – have little interest in energy assets.