Best FIG borrower – Asia: United Overseas Bank
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Best FIG borrower – Asia: United Overseas Bank

Singapore’s largest bank has led the way in the use of hybrid capital.

The world’s best borrowers in 2006

One of the hottest themes in Asian debt issuance over the past 12 months has been the re-emergence of hybrid capital, particularly for financial borrowers. UOB, Singapore’s largest bank, wins this year’s best financial borrower award for a well-executed hybrid tier 1 deal that proved to be the largest hybrid deal from Asia outside of Japan for four years and the tightest priced hybrid deal from the region.

Following changes in the guidance from the Monetary Authority of Singapore relating to hybrid debt issuance, UOB quickly re-opened the Singapore hybrid debt market in difficult conditions in December 2005 with its US$500 million issue of perpetual preference shares callable in March 2016. What really sets the deal apart from others in the region, however, was the way the UOB management team executed the transaction, as one syndicate member explains. “A lot of Asian borrowers will try to take the cheapest money on the table,” he says. “But this was tier 1 capital – it’s quasi-equity, so you need to find the right kind of investors.”

To do that, UOB undertook a full US 144A offering and embarked on a comprehensive roadshow to achieve as broad a distribution as possible.

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