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|BEST BANK: DNB NOR
BEST DEBT HOUSE: Deutsche Bank
BEST EQUITY HOUSE: Carnegie
BEST M&A HOUSE: SEB Merchant Banking
“Profitability is good, supported by very low loan loss provisions and a leaner cost structure,” observed Fitch when it affirmed its A+ rating on DnB NOR late in 2005, and the bank’s full-year results did not disappoint. Pre-tax profit rose by 25% to NKr13.1 billion ($2.1 billion), return on equity expanded from 17.7% to 18.8% and the cost-income ratio continued to fall, from almost 53% at the end of the second quarter to 47.5% by the year-end. With 10,000 new SME customers added in 2006 and retail lending rising by 11%, DnB NOR strengthened its already dominant position in the domestic market in 2005. It also reports that it has now completed Norway’s largest ever merger (which brought together DnB and Nordlandsbansbanken in 2003) “at schedule (or even marginally ahead) and at budget (or a little better)”.
Highlights for Deutsche Bank in the market for Norwegian borrowers in 2005 included the only US dollar global offering of the year from Eksportfinans, which was the tightest priced US dollar benchmark from a Nordic agency; and Kommunalbanken Norway’s first ever $1 billion benchmark, which was fully subscribed within 3.5