Inflation is exacerbating an already depressed underwriting environment, but these standouts persevere.
BEST BANKS FOR DEBT
GLOBAL & NORTH AMERICA
J.P. Morgan demonstrated resiliency to retain its leading positions in various debt capital markets categories and is our winner for Best Debt Bank. The bank led in global issuance volume overall as well as in global MBS and ABS and international debt, based on Refinitiv data.
Among the IPOs it participated in were Corebridge Financial ($1.7 billion) and Porsche ($8.8 billion). The depth of its services strengthens client engagement and is a significant factor in its success in securing deal mandates. In addition to its traditional equity and debt underwriting and M&A platforms, J.P. Morgan differentiates itself with its Corporate Finance Advisory unit, which serves to deepen its client relationships by advising clients on a range of areas including capital structure, risk management credit ratings, distribution policy, liquidity management, and cost of capital. A ratings advisory team also assists governments globally to address issues related to sovereign credit ratings, investor communication and policy impacts.
Additionally, to broaden its range of potential clients the bank employs a regional approach in the US through the creation of a dedicated team to serve middle market corporate clients. In North America, J.P. Morgan led in US debt proceeds, high yield and ABS, while placing second in MBS and investment grade debt. The bank is a leader in ESG finance, holding the top spot in global ESG bond issuance. This effort is advanced by the bank’s ESG Solutions group, a specialist team to advise on ESG-related initiatives to identify sustainable transactions and solutions. Collaboration within the bank contributes significantly to this effort, as the group partners with J.P. Morgan’s Development Finance Institution in originating sustainable transactions, and with the bank’s Center For Carbon Transition to align its portfolio with United Nations 2030 emissions targets. —DS
With deep industry knowledge and a broad range of coverage areas across the continent, Standard Bank provides multinational, sovereign and domestic clients in Africa with innovative funding solutions in a range of sectors. The bank holds the No. 2 spot in overall debt capital markets and has captured top positions in debt league tables in the categories of lender (12% share), lead arranger (17%) and bookrunner (10%), according to Dealogic. With this powerful franchise, the bank consistently demonstrates its expertise in winning key mandates across the continent and involves financings in the energy sector in Angola, Kenya, and Nigeria, and on state-owned projects including gas pipeline in Mozambique and power generation in Ghana. Mining is also a key area of focus. Standard Bank led financings in South Africa, Ghana and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Additional areas include an infrastructure deal for Kenya Ports Authority and social loans for student housing in South Africa. The bank is also a lead funder in government programs to boost South Africa’s electricity supply. In sustainability, the bank exceeded its target of over $2 billion in financings for 2022 and is on track to meet a goal of $15 billion by 2025. —DS
As one of the world’s largest financial institutions, Mizuho Financial Group operates in 40 countries in the Asia, Americas, and EMEA through 800 offices and 55,000 employees worldwide. To support Asian sustainability-linked loan framework, Mizuho signed the first ESG-theme loan agreement with AEON Aredit Service (Asia) Company in 2022. The agreement stipulated AEON’s projects aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage sustainability financial educations. In 2022, Mizuho Americans offered a unique financing solution of $800 million as part of the $2.5 billion oil and gas acquisition deal between JERA Americas and Freeport LNG. Mizuho Americans also executed financing to Saavi Energia, Mexico’s fourth-largest independent power producer and the largest privately owned power generator. Also in 2022, Mizuho acted as joint coordinator, sole sustainability coordinator, BMLA and facility agent on Standard Bank’s inaugural sustainability-linked syndicated term loan, which enables renewable energy power plants, employee diversity and other social projects in Africa continent. —LZ
CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE
With Russian banks cut off from most capital markets due to the Western sanctions against the country because of the invasion in Ukraine, aggregated CEE debt issuances lost more than 50% in the year. The war also had a contagion effect on Russia’s and Ukraine’s neighboring economies, both from the direct impacts of the slowing economic activity in the region and the geopolitical uncertainty that pushed corporates to seek business opportunities elsewhere. Despite the dismal macroeconomic picture, BAC Securities showcased expertise in the debt sector through its role as adviser and finance arranger for various large-scale projects. Among those deals are the development of one of the largest wind farm projects in continental Europe and several renewable energy-related debt issuances in the Balkan region. BAC also acted as a sell-side adviser for the disposal of RES asset mix consisting of wind assets, solar assets and hydro-assets. Additionally, BAC Securities acted as the lead manager of the bond placement of Energo Pro Varna in Bulgaria for 130 million euros. —TM
In 2022, against the backdrop of higher global interest rates and borrowing costs, Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) international bond issuance dropped significantly to $64 billion—a sharp decline from 2021’s record of $149 billion. But there was a silver lining: The Brazilian domestic market, which saw record issuance of $85.6 billion in 2022, represented an increase of 6.6% over 2021. The trend was mainly propelled by $50.9 billion in total corporate debt issuance, which was also a record. Amid this scenario, Santander took advantage of its privileged market positioning in the region’s two main economies, Brazil and Mexico, and managed to gain market share when others were struggling. In Brazil, the Spanish-based bank participated in 105 deals for a total of $11.6 billion, deepening its market share as investors searched for fixed-income alternatives due to the country’s high base interest rate. The thriving agricultural debt market mainly propelled the rise in activity, a trend that Santander was able to foresee and navigate with excellence, winning Global Finance’s award for a second year in a row. —TM
Kuwait’s Kamco Invest has an established presence in key regional financial markets. It also touts a consistent track record of originating financing solutions that contribute to the expansion of capital markets throughout the region. Its investment banking platform also includes equity capital markets and M&A, with additional services in asset management and brokerage to serve clients domestically and more broadly across the region with a range of banking and investment solutions. Mandates during 2022 included a $350 million sukuk issuance for UAE-based Arada Developments; a $300 million sukuk bond for a real estate company owned by Abu Dhabi’s ruling family; and a $69 million debt restructuring for United Education Company to better capture internal liquidity to reduce the company’s debt levels. To increase access to its offerings, Kamco launched Iktatib, a subscription-based online platform connecting investors with its bond and sukuk issuances. —DS
The slowdown in general activity in global capital markets did not spare the debt market in 2022. According to PwC, there were only 993 debt issuances and $710 billion raised in 2022, compared to 1,326 issuances and $943 billion in 2021. Despite the challenging environment, BNP Paribas found a way to help its clients and produce solid growth. The bank participated in 447 EMEA debt issuances with a total value of $132.2 billion, ranking first in the category both by value and return. This represents a significant increase in market share from last year. The French-based bank also made significant strides in the green/ESG bond market, which showed signs of maturing in Europe in 2022. Although the number of deals slightly decreased from 297 in 2021 to 286 in 2022, green/ESG issuances represented a greater share of total issuances in Europe for the year—29% compared to 22% in 2021. Moreover, BNP Paribas issued its inaugural $55.1 million Social Bond, tracking the MSCI Eurozone Social Select 30 index. —TM