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BNPP and French ECM: a tough year gets a bit better

BNPP's role on a government sale of Safran shares has made its paltry year in French ECM look a bit better, but the ultra-tight deal also reflects the pressure of low volumes

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The latest French government sale of shares in engine-maker Safran could not have come at a better time for BNP Paribas, which has got some serious work to do if it wants to get close to the top of the French equity capital markets rankings this year.

Until Monday night's €1.24 billion deal – the biggest equity trade in France so far this year – the bank was languishing in a lowly seventh place for straight equity transactions in France, according to Dealogic, with less than $150 million of league table credit from nine transactions.

The Safran trade, where BNP Paribas was sole global coordinator but shared bookrunner duties with Morgan Stanley and Société Générale, bumps BNPP up to fifth place, but also sees its French rival overtake Goldman Sachs to go top. SocGen was also advising the state on the trade in the run-up to launch.

SocGen and BNPP have been number one and two, respectively, in each of the last three years. If equity-linked is included, then BNPP topped the table in 2015 and 2016.

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