The highly-anticipated The Asset Triple A Sustainable Capital Markets Awards 2021 came to an exciting conclusion on March 22 with Société Générale emerging as the winner of the coveted Best ESG bank.
In an Oscars-style online awards ceremony attended by over 600 viewers across Asia, Société Générale beats the competition on the back of a stream of ESG-related financing transactions across the region. The bank was involved in the first-ever sustainability bond from India for Axis Bank and in the first sustainability bond from an Asean issuer to access the 144A market for United Overseas Bank. It also brought to the market a number of South Korean transactions, including Shinhan Card’s first social Formosa bond and the inaugural social covered bond by KEB Hana Bank.
The Best sustainable finance adviser award goes to BNP Paribas as it delivered sustainable financing across asset classes in several countries in Asia. It focused on transactions that generate impact on society and the environment, as well as on companies that can demonstrate long-term sustainability strategy. It was involved in Korea’s first green convertible bond for Posco and in the first sustainability-linked bond for JSW Steel of India, helping companies in the carbon-intensive steel industry reshape their businesses and decarbonize their operations. It was also involved in Asia’s first biodiversity-themed bond for Bank of China – the first by a financial institution issuer globally.
For the Best green adviser, the award goes to Crédit Agricole CIB for spearheading several green financing transactions from different types of issuers in the region. It was involved in the green bond deals for Republic of Korea and for the Hong Kong SAR, where it was a green structuring adviser. It was also the green structuring adviser in the multi-currency, multi-tranche senior green bonds for ICBC and acted as the sustainability structuring agent for China Merchants Bank’s sustainability bond and carbon-neutral-themed green bond.
Another big winner was Citi, which took home a slew of major awards – Best bank, Best corporate and institutional adviser, Best equity adviser, Best equity-linked adviser and Best bond adviser – the latter breaking the stranglehold of HSBC for the honour.
Citi’s equity capital markets team had an outstanding year in 2021, bringing a number of market-defining initial public offerings for the likes of KakaoBank in Korea, Zomato in India and Monde Nissin in the Philippines. It also brought to the market Prosus’ US$15 billion accelerated equity offering in Tencent Holdings, representing the largest-ever overnight equity transaction. In terms of debt capital markets, Citi’s transactions included several ESG-related bonds such as those for the Republic of Indonesia (RoI), Republic of Korea and the HKSAR. It was a top performer in the Greater China G3 offerings and led debt product innovation in the Asean region.
HSBC managed to retain the awards for Best debt adviser, Best liability management adviser and Best acquisition finance adviser. HSBC’s strong debt franchise cuts across loans and bonds, both onshore and offshore, as well as securitization, particularly in China. It is a leading adviser in liability management in Asia, participating in the inaugural liability management exercise by RoI and in the Government of Mongolia. It was also the solicitation agent in the any-and-all tender and consent for Delhi International Airport and in the any-and-all tender offer for Minor International.
HSBC is likewise a leading arranger for sponsor-related financing, originating and executing innovative funding solutions for its corporate clients. One such deal was the €1.95 billion (US$2.14 billion) term loan B and high-yield bond leveraged buyout financing package for Hillhouse Capital for the acquisition of Philips Domestic Appliances.
Another multi-winner is DBS, which also retains the awards for Best Reit adviser and Best loan adviser. The bank was involved in 15 Reit and business trust issuances across the region, raising about US$2.9 billion to help clients and investors tap on the Covid-19 market recovery. Always punching above its weight, the bank also maintained its consistency as a leading loan adviser in the region, enhancing its franchise in the originate-to-distribute model of lending in North Asia.
The other repeat winners include Deutsche Bank as Best emerging markets bond adviser as it continued to bring several high-yield bond transactions out of China and Indonesia, and Standard Chartered as Best local-currency bond adviser as it demonstrated its leadership in bringing significant transactions in markets such as Hong Kong India and the Philippines.
Bank of China also retains the accolade as Best renminbi bond adviser, providing comprehensive product mix covering non-financial enterprise debt financing instruments, financial bonds, asset-backed securities and Panda bonds.
BNP Paribas is a repeat winner as Best securitization adviser, leveraging on a broader footprint versus the competition. In China, it was involved in retail auto mortgage loan securitization, retail auto lease securitization and consumer loan securitization. From Korea, BNP Paribas brought into the market the covered bonds from the likes of Korea Housing Finance Corporation, Kookmin Bank and KEB Hana Bank, as well as the covered bonds from Singapore for United Overseas Bank and DBS.
A first-time winner is Evercore as Best M&A adviser, which was involved in some of the largest, most complex and landmark transactions across a multitude of sectors, including technology, real estate, shipping, ports and healthcare, among others. It was the lead financial adviser to Grab on its US$40 billion Spac merger with Altimeter and was the exclusive financial adviser to Jurong Port in respect of Jurong Port Universal Terminal’s acquisition of the business and assets of Universal Terminal in a transaction valued in excess of S$3 billion (US$2.2 billion).
Evercore was also the exclusive financial adviser to Pacific International Lines in respect of its US$712 million investment from Heliconia and in the US$3.3 billion debt restructuring exercise.
For the complete list of winners, please click here.