South Asia: Best Regional Bank for BRI 2017
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South Asia: Best Regional Bank for BRI 2017


MCB Bank, led by chief executive Imran Maqbool, is a worthy winner of best regional bank in south Asia for BRI. It is Pakistan’s third-largest financial institution by market capitalization and the fourth-largest by deposits. It has a roster of China-based corporate clients that spans energy, renewables and infrastructure, including Shandong Hi-Speed, Sinohydro, CSun Solar and Hangzhou Qiantang River Electric.

Pakistan is the most integral sovereign link in the BRI chain. If all goes to plan, Beijing will spend upward of $46 billion in the country by 2030, building power plants, rail lines, port facilities and highways, and enabling resources and goods to pass overland from western China to the Indian Ocean.

By any measure, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is one of the first great new engineering projects of this century, and MCB is central to every aspect of the process, as integral and important to CPEC as the trade corridor is to Beijing.

It led the syndicated facilities that financed the $243 million modernization of the M2 motorway between Lahore and the capital Islamabad, and another four-lane stretch of highway linking Karachi with Hyderabad.

Scroll down the list of CPEC projects – completed, planned and ongoing – and MCB’s name is likely to be there, financing solar plants in Punjab, expanding sugar and cement plants, and running the books on a landmark initial public offering by Pakistan Stock Exchange, a bourse now 40% owned by China.

The list goes on: lead financial adviser and arranger for the $255 million M9 motorway under construction in Sindh province, lead arranger on a $120 million expressway under construction in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the northwest, and many other projects, each in its own way vital to the success of CPEC, and to the Belt and Road Initiative.

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