A rebound in equity issuance and the continued rise – from a high base – in DCM issuance, helped offset lower regional M&A volumes last year, as international yield hunters helped sovereigns and government-related entities offset the decline in petro-dollar flows.
The bank that looms largest in this financing activity, especially in bonds and sukuk, is HSBC, the region’s best bank for financing. The team – with Matthew Wallace as regional head of global banking – was instrumental in a string of deals from Adnoc, including the IPO and debut bond, project bond and debut syndicated loan, as well as other deals in Abu Dhabi, including a 30-year sovereign deal and a landmark green bond from the national bank.
In Saudi Arabia, HSBC was global coordinator on the kingdom’s debut sovereign sukuk and the debut sukuk from Saudi Aramco via a private placement. In the Saudi private sector, on the equity side, it was sole bookrunner in what it says is the first Saudi accelerated bookbuild – local conglomerate Savola’s SR1.1 billion ($300 million) sell-down from dairy firm Almarai.
Elsewhere, HSBC was at the forefront of important government and private-sector deals in markets such as Kuwait and Oman, on both the equity and debt side.
Smaller deals, but arguably in more difficult sectors, saw HSBC act as global coordinator on a successful $375 million high-yield bond for Topaz Marine. It was also global coordinator on the $500 million sukuk for Damac, in conjunction with a liability management exercise for the Dubai-based property developer.
In loans, HSBC was sole financial adviser and mandated lead arranger on the $3 billion debt financing for the expansion of Dubai Airport, the inaugural part of a new $25 billion funding platform. It was also heavily involved in a $6.25 billion facility, backed by five national export-credit agencies, for the upgrade of refineries owned by Kuwait National Petroleum Company.