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BANKING

Israel

Bahrain I Egypt I Iran I Israel I Jordan I Kuwait I Lebanon I Morocco I Oman I Qatar I Saudi Arabia I United Arab Emirates I Lifetime Achievement

BEST BANK: Bank Hapoalim
BEST EQUITY HOUSE: Citigroup
BEST DEBT HOUSE: Citigroup
BEST M&A HOUSE: Lehman Brothers


UBS has Bank Hapoalim, winner of this year’s best bank award, on its list of top five global emerging market stocks. It’s easy to see why. The bank reported record results for the first quarter of 2006, with increased revenues, capital gains and lower bad debt provisions all contributing to a net profit of NIS1.177 billion ($260.4 billion). This compares favourably with last year’s Q1 figure of NIS924 million, and with analysts’ consensus estimate of about NIS1.157 billion. Impressive numbers aside, Hapoalim has also been commended by analysts for having better management and greater transparency than its rival, Bank Leumi.

Although Lehman Brothers remains entrenched at the top of the equity league table, the award for best equity house goes to Citigroup in recognition of its rapid improvements in the market. The bank partnered Lehman Brothers and Credit Suisse in the larger tranche of this year’s standout deal, the convertibles issued for Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, but it is in the deals where Citigroup acted as sole bookrunner that the bank really made its case.

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