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UniCredit and Citi shine at ECM Awards


The €13bn rights issue of UniCredit was acclaimed as the Equity Capital Markets Deal of the Year at GlobalCapital’s 2017 ECM Awards, which were presented on Tuesday night at our third ECM Awards Dinner, held at One Whitehall Place in London.

The Awards include the Deals of the Year and Awards for Best Non-Bank Market Participants, which are chosen in a poll of market participants, so that they reflect the opinion of the market. Meanwhile, the Banks of the Year are judged by GlobalCapital's editorial team.

Mirko Bianchi, UniCredit's CFO, brought the company's mascot, Elkette — the most famous moose on Instagram — with him to collect the top Award, as well as Financial Institution ECM Deal of the Year and ECM Deal of the Year in Italy.

Elkette let Bianchi do the talking, however. Accepting the Awards, he recalled the gruelling month-long roadshow that took him and CEO Jean-Pierre Mustier one and a half times round the world — but earned UniCredit €2m of capital a minute.

Pirelli's CEO, Dr Marco Tronchetti Provera, came to collect the Award for IPO of the Year for the Italian tyre maker's €2.4bn Milan flotation in September. He remarked on the remarkably fast turnaround between Pirelli being taken private by ChemChina in 2015 and refloating in 2017 as a changed company, focused on the most profitable, high tech products. But perhaps that should be expected from the official tyre producer for Formula 1.

2017 was a memorable year for Citigroup too, as it fought its way up the league table from the bottom half of the bulge bracket, where it has stood for years, to break into the top 3. That earned the bank ECM Bank of the Year, as well as the Best Bank in CEE it has held for several years.

Ken Robins, Citi's head of EMEA ECM, praised the efforts of his team and the patience of his wife for the great efforts that had gone into this feat. GC said the top Award recognised the steepness and breadth of Citi's climb in nearly all market segments, which had won the admiration even of rivals.

Another star performer of the year was UBS, which earned ECM Bank of the Year for Financial Institutions and the coveted IPO Bank of the Year — its first achievement of this title. Javier Martinez-Piqueras, head of EMEA ECM, spoke of UBS’s long journey in strengthening its IPO offering, to the point where it had acted on seven of the 10 largest IPOs of 2017.

Morgan Stanley, a former IPO Bank, also won a new title: Block Trade Bank of the Year — held last year by UBS. Martin Thorneycroft, head of cash ECM EMEA, collected the award, which recognised the bank's strongly increased presence in this technique, which requires both risk appetite and caution.

The bank also took home ECM Bank of the Year in the Middle East and Africa.

Deals of historic significance

Block Trade of the Year was won by Barclays Bank for its trade selling R37.7bn ($2.9bn) of stock in Barclays Africa Group. The award was collected by Francesco Ceccato, head of corporate development at Barclays, who noted the emotive nature of the sale for the bank, which had been in some parts of Africa for a century. The trade, a crucial step in Barclays' withdrawal from the continent, was one of the largest block trades in EMEA in recent years, and the largest ECM deal ever in rand. 

It was a good night for Barclays: Kunal Gandhi, its head of corporate broking, picked up the Best Corporate Broker Award, reflecting the continued growth of its franchise. 

The IPO of Allied Irish Banks was also rightly celebrated by the market, picking up two awards, for Privatisation of the Year and ECM Deal of the Year in the UK and Ireland.

AIB Group’s CEO Bernard Byrne collected the awards, modestly conceding that this was only the second most important prize to be scooped by an Irish team from English rivals in London recently, given Ireland’s Grand Slam triumph in the Six Nations rugby championship. The Award was an important achievement for the bank and a milestone moment in Ireland's economic recovery.

The €4bn rights issue of Electricité de France, of which the €1bn part sold to the market was 1.8 times oversubscribed, won the ECM Deal of the Year in France. The deal, a long and difficult one that moved from one market window to another, opened a new chapter for EDF. Ignacio Domingo Puertolas, EDF's group head of financial operations, praised the banks for their support in helping EDF cope with the difficult market conditions just before the French election.

A new award for Fixed Price IPO of the Year was awarded to Neinor Homes of Spain and was collected by the global coordinators, Citigroup and Credit Suisse. 

The IPO of the Year under $300m was won by German micro-battery maker Varta. Its chairman Dr Michael Pistauer, collecting the Award, spoke of the unique opportunity Varta had seized to finance its future growth.

One of Varta’s global coordinators, Berenberg, won the prize for Best Bank for Small Cap Equity Capital Markets. Stefan Ries, collecting the Award, thanked the bank's clients for trusting it to bring off these often tricky smaller capital raisings.

Diverse excellence

A much bigger proposition was the IPO of EN+ Group, the Russian aluminium and hydropower company controlled by Oleg Deripaska. The deal came in November, a difficult time of 2017 for IPOs, but by then investors had seen what EN+'s management had told them earlier in the year come true: the aluminium price had risen, helped by China's production cutbacks.

The deal's success raised $1.5bn and won it ECM Deal of the Year in CEE, Russia and the CIS. Maxim Sokov, president of EN+ Group, collected the award, which underlined the international enthusiasm for the deal.

Fernando Donoso, head of equity investor relations at Santander, picked up two Awards for the bank's €7bn rights issue in July, which it used to recapitalise Banco Popular after buying it for €1. The deal won Best Equity Capital Raising by a Listed Company and ECM Deal of the Year in Iberia. Now Santander faces the longer job of integrating the acquisition.

The award for Equity Capital Markets Bank of the Year in Iberia went to Credit Suisse, which had grown strongly in that market. Jérôme Renard ,who picked up the Award, said it had been a focus of the bank to grow in the region. Now he will have to try and win it again.

The Dh3.1bn ($850m) IPO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co for Distribution won ECM Deal of the Year in Turkey, the Middle East and Africa and was collected by Ahmed Al Shamsi, the IPO project manager at Adnoc Distribution.

The transaction, warmly received by the market, was a genuine opener for what is set to be a wave of privatizations in the Middle East.

The bookrunners were on hand to pick up the award for ECM Deal of the Year in the Benelux, won by Mexican drinks group FEMSA’s mammoth block trade to sell €1.9bn and €601m of stock Heineken and Heineken Holding. This rare trade for 5% of the company had been called "a gift from heaven" by one banker.

The award for ECM Bank of the Year in France and the Benelux was won by Société Générale, continuing its winning streak. Luis Vaz-Pinto, global head of ECM, Jose-Antonio Gagliardi, head of syndicate, and Alexis Le Touzé, co-head of ECM for that region, collected the Award.

Mediobanca's Francesco Spila took home a third successive trophy for ECM Bank of the Year in Italy to Milan, after an impressive year of good deals.

James Yu, partner at EQT Partners, collect the  award for ECM Deal of the Year in the Nordic Region on behalf of Terveystalo, the Finnish healthcare provider floated by EQT in the biggest Finnish IPO for a decade. He promised the award would be cheered in Helsinki.

Yu also collected the award for Best Private Equity Firm at using the Equity Capital Markets, which EQT won for the first time.

Investors rewarded

Most Influential Long-Only Equity Investor went to BlackRock, a repeat winner, and was collected by a delighted Ed Cook, co-head of global capital markets. Charlie Mansour picked up Most Influential Hedge Fund Equity Investor for Marshall Wace.

And the prize for Most Influential Equity-Linked Investor was awarded to Och-Ziff Capital Management. Ghassan Ayoub and Vincent Olekhnovitch thanked the market for the prestigious award on behalf of the firm.

White & Case, which has been investing in its capital markets practice for the last few years under Philippe Herbelin, reaped the reward with the Best Law Firm prize, after a monster year of deals in almost every European country.

Rothschild was Best Equity Capital Markets Adviser, another hat trick winner, to the jubilation of Adam Young and François Wat.

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