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February 2000

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  • Author: Peter Lee
  • Is there a North Carolina-style dynamo waiting to whir into action in some unconsidered part of Europe? Or is the coast-to-coast merger triumph of what was once NationsBank and has now taken on Bank of America branding something that can't be replicated outside the US? Certainly, things are going to go differently in the EU, but bank experts reckon there's a lot to be learnt from US merger mania. The views of the new Bank of America's James Hance and Frank Gentry, and of others eyeing Europe, are sifted by James Smalhout
  • Author: Michael Peterson
  • Last year bond investors only had to pick the right country to make profits in Asia. This year the focus is on individual credits, and there are plenty to choose from. Investors need to do their homework. Governments and corporates are issuing fast and furiously. Corporates want an alternative to bank lending, over-reliance on which, they say, caused some of their past troubles. Governments are issuing even when they don't need the money, to create a domestic market and build up a curve. Pauline Loong reports on Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia, Dominic Jones on Korea and Taiwan, Gill Baker on Thailand and Malaysia.
  • The biggest opportunities for growth and profits in the fixed-income world in 2000 are in Europe. Corporate bonds, high-yield, securitization will flourish. There will be a fierce contest, as all manner of intermediaries - commercial and investment banks, Americans and Europeans fight for a place in the bond bulge bracket. According to the US model this should guarantee the eventual winners a honey-pot combination of high market share and profitability. The competition to hire the people - high-level originators, salesmen expert at advising institutional investors strategically, skilled and market-savvy credit analysts - will become ever more intense. Peter Lee's report heads a series of articles on the future of fixed income
  • Selling of primary bond issues via the internet has diverted attention from more revolutionary developments in e-trading - such as the plethora of bond-trading platforms, owned by different constellations of players, and the channelling of several banks' research and dealing services through a single portal. Where's it all going? Antony Currie reports
  • Commerzbank has defied history and set up a profitable global equities operation from scratch. Or has it? We can't measure the success of this adventure. Nor does the bank's management want us to know. It's staking everything on Wunderkind Mehmet Dalman whose empire, to his own amusement, is expanding by the minute. Laura Covill reports
  • Sophisticated derivatives players are still searching for the best way to sell their wares. With specialized derivatives teams? Or along with the cash products? David Shirreff reports
  • When a private bank due to be sold to a foreign group ends up in state hands it's hardly a sign that all's well with the European single market. This was the outcome of the stand-off between the European Commission and the Portuguese government over the Champalimaud banking group. Spain's BSCH attempted to take a stake in the group, sparked off a huge row about cross-border M&A and ended up with only some of the pickings. Other key assets have ended up under state control, even if only temporarily. From every angle the Champalimaud affair is an example of the wrong way to make takeovers. For octogenarian banker António Champalimaud it was a final chapter in a lifetime of battles with bureaucrats. Brian Caplen reports
  • In theory Turkey should be a paradise for engineers, construction companies and banks involved in the electricity sector. Consumption is far outstripping supply and in theory state monopolies are being opened up to privatization and foreign investment. In practice these developments are entangled in the bureaucratic, constitutional and financing red tape that afflicts almost all enterprise in Turkey. Then there's the tangled geopolitics of gas supply from neighbours. Metin Munir reports
  • Editor: Peter Lee
  • In 1999, the European single currency brought with it a flourishing new market in corporate bonds for a range of different quality issuers. The dollar bond market also thrived on a diet of jumbo global offerings. Syndicated loans integrated ever more closely with the capital markets to deliver huge amounts to acquisitive companies. Equity markets saw the first ever pan-European retail deal and the US markets were innovative as ever. Brian Caplen, Antony Currie, Peter Lee, David Shirreff and Marcus Walker profile the deals of 1999.
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