No lender in south Asia can compete with Standard Chartered’s scale, strength, pocketbook and willingness to go the extra yard for its clients. Over the last year, it has done more complex regional deals that use Chinese money, involve mainland corporates and enhance and expand the New Silk Road project than any of its peers.
Its ability to leverage its impressive network in south Asia and China allow it to complete deals that no other financial institution perhaps could. One thinks of the new international airport under construction in Nepal, with Standard Chartered acting as escrow agent on a project funded by a $216 million loan from Export-Import Bank of China. Or of the $700 million syndicated term loan raised for Pakistan’s finance ministry in December 2017.
Standard Chartered was mandated lead arranger, bookrunner and facility agent on that deal, which included partial guarantees from the World Bank, and the participation of Bank of China and policy lender China Development Bank (CDB).
Standard Chartered was also prominent in the transaction that enabled Colombo-based Laugfs Gas to build a new terminal at the Chinese-owned Hambantota Port in the south of Sri Lanka, which will transship liquefied petroleum gas to Myanmar and India – a deal that secured political and commercial cover from Sinosure, marking the Chinese credit insurer’s first private-sector transaction in the country.
Standard Chartered is regularly coming up with new ways to find and facilitate capital keen to be put to work on projects along the New Silk Road. In January this year, it signed memoranda of understanding with two of China’s big-four state-run commercial banks, and an MoU with CDB, which has pledged to channel Rmb10 billion ($1.45 billion) in loans to StanChart, to be lent on to BRI projects over the next five years.