Citi does the double
Sanford Weill's financial titan emerged from the shadows in the equity capital market of 2003 and flexed its muscles.
Citigroup's double scoop of the global and European equity bookrunner awards shows that other ECM bankers have finally been won over by the scale of its operations.
Like the rest of Citigroup, the bank's ECM business had confidence ? and more importantly, money.
Its $2.3bn sale of KPN stock in September, which was placed at a premium to the market close, startled the European equity market and inspired a spate of arguably less successful copycat offerings.
The KPN sale for the Dutch government was the largest ever bought deal sold at a premium and brought acclaim and criticism in equal measures from other ECM divisions.
For supporters it was the one of the bravest trades ever executed in Europe. For detractors it was symptomatic of the drive by bulge bracket banks to buy league table credit and business. What is certain is that banks will be trying to repeat the feat for years to come.
But the European operation wasn't the only one stealing international headlines. As a bookrunner on the China Life IPO, Citigroup played a key part in the largest and most successful equity new issue of 2003, anywhere.
The issue generated huge demand ? the books closed over 70 times covered, with international investors clamouring for larger allocations.
Nikko Citigroup in Japan also had a good year. Fujitsu, the troubled IT and communication group, chose it as sole bookrunner for its sale of 24m shares in Fanuc, the world's largest maker of industrial robots. The sale raised $1.5bn and was the largest non-bank Japanese share sale of 2003.
The performance of the Citigroup equity business is all the more impressive given that its top management was reshuffled in May. Arthur Hyde and Richard DiFazio, co-heads of global equities, were moved aside and replaced by Citigroup fixed income veteran Jim Forese. Hyde and DiFazio's replacement was seen by some observers as an attempt to remove staff who were linked in any way with the market abuses that led to the bank's $1.4bn global settlement with the State of New York.
One of Forese's first decisions as the new global head of equities was in July to move Jim O'Donnell, head of European equities, to New York to be head of US equities. Jim Cowles, global head of ECM, became the new head of European equities.
Tyler Dickson, co-head of US ECM, was promoted to be the new global head of ECM.