Best corporate borrower – Emerging Europe: Gazprom
The Russian energy group has been smart by staying in benchmarks.
|Gazprom: about to turn off its benchmark programme?
Although Gazprom had a superb 2005, it has issued no bonds so far this year. In the words of one debt capital markets banker: it’s “so bloody liquid, it’s not even funny”. Investors hungry for exposure to Russian risk have grown accustomed to using the state-owned gas monopoly as a proxy for sovereign debt, but they’ve been starved of the opportunity in the first half of 2006. By early May, Gazprom’s value had pierced the $300 billion ceiling, making it the third largest company by market cap in the world: this is not a firm that needs to borrow cash. Outstanding performance
Nonetheless, Gazprom takes the best emerging Europe borrower award for the success of its 2005 issuance, the professionalism of its funding team and its continuing market dominance. Last May, ABN Amro and Credit Suisse First Boston ended up making a late switch from a split dollar/euro issuance to a four times oversubscribed €1 billion bond. The abandonment of the dollar tranche demonstrated Gazprom’s flexibility, keenness to take advantage of lower absolute euro yields and popularity in the euro market.