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Eyes on the prize: banks position for strongest possible finish after tough 2023

There can only be one champion. Such is true in sport, and it is also the case in ECM bank league tables.

Like the teams taking part in this year’s Rugby World Cup in France, ECM bankers in EMEA are turning their attentions to the latter stages of a competitive year with a last push at glory.

Leading the way remains Bank of America, with USD 7.5bn of apportioned rank eligible ECM volume in 9M23. Like the national rugby teams of Ireland or France, BofA has been an ECM contender for some time and could finally be crowned champion.

The bank recorded USD 1.63bn of issuance in 3Q over 11 deals, the third highest in the quarter after JPMorgan and Citi, which were the top banks in 3Q with USD 1.66bn and USD 1.65bn of issuance, respectively.

Most of BofA’s volume this year has been from follow-on issuance and the bank finished the quarter on a high note with a role on an accelerated primary placing in UK utility company Severn Trent [LON:SVT].

It was also a global coordinator in the IPO of Schott Pharma [ETR:1SXP], alongside involvement in two convertible bonds in Eni [BIT:ENI and Snam [BIT:SRG], although it was one of seven banks on the former.

In second place for the year-to-date period is Goldman Sachs which, like New Zealand’s famous All Blacks, is always chasing top spot. GS has USD 7.3bn of volume over 9M23 with some significant deals in the third quarter including a global coordinator role on the Saudi IPO of Ades International Holding and roles on a USD 2.5bn sell-down in London Stock Exchange Group and a USD 1bn convertible bond from Cellnex Telecom [BME:CLNX].

Just behind Goldman, with USD 7bn of EMEA ECM league table volume over the first 9m sits Morgan Stanley which, perhaps can be likened to South Africa’s Springboks, in that it is always near the top at the end of any given ECM year, exemplifying ruthless consistency.

Morgan Stanley’s biggest wins of 3Q included roles on the Severn Trent and LSEG placings, the Cellnex convert as well as a dual-exchange ABB in biotech firm argenx [NASDAQ/EPA:ARGX].

The strong performance in 3Q by JPMorgan and Citi shows the two formidable powerhouses of EMEA ECM are far from declining powers, a little like England or Wales, both topping their Rugby World Cup pools against all expectations.

BNP Paribas has been Europe’s most consistent bank across all asset classes, topping both the IPO and convertible bond charts over the first 9M. Like stylish Fiji, BNPP may not take the top spot this year, but is a competitor to be reckoned with.

Although EMEA ECM is up year-to-date, it is mainly due to follow-ons and large secondary block trades, traditionally the lowest fee ingredients of the pie, meaning revenues for EMEA ECM banks are lower than in previous quarters.

Some chunky IPOs and primary raises though may help increase the pie towards year-end.

With only a few months left in the year, any significant deal could help GS or MS leapfrog BofA to top spot and both will be hoping that a possible behemoth deal such as the Amsterdam listing of CVC Partners, might help propel them to the championship. Both are reported as global coordinators on the IPO alongside JPMorgan, as the sponsor lines up for a 4Q listing.

A listing of CVC, which coincidentally is one of the world’s foremost sporting investors including in rugby, might just be enough to secure the championship for one of its banks.

Did you see last week’s ECM Explorer EMEA?

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