BNP Paribas once again emerged as the winner of the coveted Best ESG bank award in The Asset Triple A Sustainable Capital Markets Regional Awards 2020. In a highly anticipated Oscar-style virtual awards ceremony held on March 18, attended by over 300 viewers across Asia, BNP Paribas beats the competition on the back of its leadership in arranging ESG-centric financing transactions across the region. The bank ushers into the market innovative sustainability-linked products, and continues to originate and distribute a variety of sustainable bonds for the likes of Kookmin Bank and China Merchants Bank, on the way to also retaining the honours as Best sustainable finance adviser. It worked with several issuers, such as Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Shinhan Financial Group, to ensure the Covid-19 recovery is green and sustainable.
Citi also retains the Best bank accolade as it manifested resiliency amid the pandemic. Citi Asia-Pacific set a record for net new money in wealth management, exceeding US$20 billion for the first time in its history as at December 16 2020, exceeding the previous year’s total by over 10%. The US bank also wins the Best corporate and institutional adviser, and the Best equity adviser awards. It made big strides in the equity capital markets business, arranging deals in multiple geographies amid increased market volatility due to Covid-19. Citi arranged the first equity transaction in South Korea in 2020 – the US$503 million block trade for Celltrion. It was a joint global coordinator in the largest combined offering in Asia in the past 10 years – the US$3 billion placement and convertible bond for Bharti Airtel.
HSBC is voted as the Best green adviser, having participated in several green bond transactions during the coverage period. Two of the deals that defined its franchise last year were the US$1.2 billion green bond for Mass Transit Railway Corporation, in which it acted as sustainability adviser, and the US$350 million energy transition bond for Castle Peak Power Company, where it was the sole climate action finance framework adviser.
HSBC wins four other awards – Best debt adviser, Best bond adviser, Best liability management adviser, and Best acquisition finance adviser – a clear manifestation of the strength of its debt capital markets franchise across the region. It consistently executed several notable bond transactions in 2020, including the US$6 billion multi-tranche bond each for Tencent Holdings and PETRONAS, and the 4 billion euro multi-tranche offering by the Ministry of Finance of China. It arranged 18 public liability management transactions in eight different markets and across transaction formats – tender, exchange, and consent solicitation.
The bank participated in sponsor-related financing acting as joint mandated lead arranger, underwriter and bookrunner in the US$1 billion equivalent syndicated term loan B financing package, enabling GenesisCare to bid for 21st Century Oncology with funding certainty.
Emerging markets bonds
Deutsche Bank wins the Best emerging markets bond adviser award as it brought several significant high-yield bond transactions into the market in 2020 and continuously extending the outreach to different sectors in the Chinese high-yield space. At the same time, it broadens its focus to ESG-related high-yield issuances, acting as green structuring adviser for a bond offering by Zhenro Properties, and sustainable structuring adviser for Kaisa Group.
DBS, as a regional bank, continues to punch above its weight as it is voted for the second year in a row as the Best loan adviser. It was the sole mandated lead arranger and bookrunner/underwriter in the S$4 billion bridge loan facility for Singapore Airlines to support the company at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a mandated lead arranger and bookrunner in the US$331 million bridge loan facility for Centratama of Indonesia to support an acquisition of telecom towers. But what makes DBS a standout was its involvement in sustainable loan financing, which resonated in 2020. According to Refinitiv, the total volume of green loans issued in Asia, outside of Japan and Australasia, rose 41.2% to US$12.70 billion in 2020, with DBS topping the league table with US$1.985 billion.
DBS is also a repeat winner as Best Reit adviser, arranging several placement deals for the likes of Frasers Centrepoint Trust, Mapletree Industrial Trust, and Prime US Reit.
Credit Suisse bags two awards – Best equity-linked adviser and Best M&A adviser. It assisted clients from a wide range of sectors, including real estate, industrials, healthcare, technology and media, consumer and retail. It was a joint bookrunner in the US$900 million convertible bond for Xiaomi Corporation, which was executed alongside a US$3.1 billion top-up placement, where it was a joint placing agent. It brought to the market on a sole basis the HK$1.55 billion convertible bond for Zhou Hei Ya International Holdings and it was the lead left bookrunner in the US$400 million zero coupon convertible bond for Zhen Ding Technology Holding.
In terms of M&A, Credit Suisse was a financial adviser in the merger between CapitaLand Commercial Trust and CapitaLand Mall Trust, which created the third largest real estate investment trust in the Asia-Pacific with a combined property value of S$23 billion. It was also the sole financial adviser to Vingroup for the strategic investment by a KKR-led consortium into Vinhomes.
Local currency bonds
Standard Chartered is voted as the Best local currency bond adviser after it closed bond deals in several Asian local currencies in 2020. It arranged a number of peso-denominated bonds for leading Philippine banks, highlighted by the 36 billion peso retail bond for BDO Unibank, in which it acted as the sole arranger and bookrunner. It was the structuring adviser in the 18.125 billion peso Asean sustainability bond for the state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines. It was also a joint structuring adviser for the Kingdom of Thailand’s 50 billion baht sustainability bond. In another deal, it was a mandated lead arranger in the 7.5 billion taka bond for Pubali Bank, representing the largest private sector bond issued in Bangladesh.
Bank of China leads the competition for Best renminbi bond adviser, assisting Central Huijin Investment Company to issue a medium-term note worth 15 billion yuan in the China interbank bond market (CIBM). It was the sole lead underwriter in the 1.5 billion yuan green bond for Chongqing Rail Transit (Group) Company and in the one billion yuan Panda bond to combat Covid-19 for Hengan International Group Company.
Another repeat winner is BNP Paribas as the Best securitization adviser as it continues to enhance its franchise. Despite the pandemic, it doubled its business volume in China in 2020. In Korea, it completed the first credit card asset-backed securities transaction with Hyundai Card and the first-ever internationally rated Korean won-denominated credit card securitization for Lotte Card.
For the complete list of winners, please click here.