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Capital Markets

Q1 equity-linked deals plummet

The number of new equity-linked issues in the first quarter of 2008 fell dramatically across all regions in comparison with the same period in 2007.

Across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, only five deals came to market raising just €2 billion; in the US, the number fell from 61 to 35; and in Asia ex-Japan the number of deals slipped to their lowest since the first quarter of 2003.

The $4 billion-worth of issuance in Asia, however, matched that of the first quarter of 2007, which turned out to be a record year for equity-linked issuance from the region.

Volume in the US also held up much better than the fall in the number of deals suggests thanks to three jumbo transactions, all from banks to bolster their capital in the face of asset write-downs. Bank of America’s $6.9 billion, 7.25% convertible was the largest ever public convertible issued in the US.

According to analysts, technical factors are largely to blame for the fall.

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