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BEST BANK: Santander Totta
BEST DEBT HOUSE: Merrill Lynch
BEST M&A HOUSE: Santander Negocios

Santander Totta continues to be the most impressively run bank in Portugal. It succeeds in pulling off the neat trick of being both highly profitable and highly appreciated by its clients. Last year business volume increased 10.1%, with the loan book growing 13%. The bank saw its cost to income ratio plumb new debts to 43.3%, helping its return on equity reach an impressive 23.9%.

Merrill Lynch tops the league table for bond issuance in Portugal thanks to its sole-lead role on large deals such as the $3.3 billion MBS transaction for Hippo Totta, which was the second largest deal of the year after the sovereign’s $3.6 billion issue in July 2005, led by five banks. Merrill also co-led with Morgan Stanley the largest corporate bond issue of the year, a $2 billion multi-tranche issue for Portugal Telecom that was substantially upsized.

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