There is no question that Bank of China International deserves to be named best Chinese Bank for the Belt and Road Initiative. BOC's parent, Bank of China, was the first bank to issue BRI bonds, back in 2015, which it uses to help finance infrastructure projects along the old Silk Road.
The bank has also served as a big fund-raising platform for many Chinese groups seeking offshore acquisitions. Last year, BOCI and its parent helped state-owned chemicals giant ChemChina succeed in the largest offshore acquisition ever by a Chinese investor: BOCI provided about half the $20 billion fund-raising, primarily through the sale of perpetual bonds, to help the Beijing-based chemical manufacturer complete the $43 billion takeover of Swiss seeds conglomerate Syngenta, including $4.95 billion and €1.2 billion in senior notes.
For the first half of 2018, BOCI was the leader in the China international debt capital markets, according to Bloomberg, completing 80 transactions with a total value of $7.6 billion, representing a market share of 7.5%. Again, that put it well ahead of its closest rival – by 14 transactions with a value of $1.3 billion, and 1.3 percentage points in terms of market share.
Led by chief executive Li Tong, BOCI frequently takes the lead role in projects as structuring adviser, rating adviser and global coordinator of documentation, as well as marketing and distribution of the financing. To date, it is the only Chinese bank to have acted as bookrunner on international bond offerings by Korean issuers, including helping Korean Airlines and life insurer KDB Life Insurance to issue corporate bonds. BOCI helped Korean Air raise $300 million last year, and earlier this year helped KDB Life raise $200 million – both through the sale of senior notes.
Korean companies traditionally relied exclusively on Korean and global investment banks in their fundraisings. The fact that Korean Air and KDB Life turned to BOCI is indicative of the bank’s increasing competitiveness. It is, after all, the only Chinese investment bank with a global sales network and offices covering more than 1,000 institutional accounts across Asia, Europe and Middle East.