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JB's weekly round-up - 24 December 2013

The run up to the Christmas and New Year holiday period is always a hectic time. This year was no exception, as deals closed and a lot of end-of-year balance sheet activity took place.
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Welcome to the weekly round-up of the TXF news service
 

That was the week that was...
The run up to the Christmas and New Year holiday period is always a hectic time. This year was no exception, as deals closed and a lot of end-of-year balance sheet activity took place.
 
On top of all this, there are of course overdue meetings to squeeze in and numerous functions to attend. Those lucky enough to be in London last week may have had the privilege of attending the launch party for Sullivan & Worcester’s (S&W) London offices on the 24th floor of Tower 42. Led by trade team leader and managing partner Geoffrey Wynne, the full London team was there and also a good number of partners from the US offices. The firm has a refreshing approach, and we look forward to hearing more about their business activity in the coming months. The party was a great affair – even having the good old vodka luge – and a marvelous opportunity to catch up with many trade, commodity and also ECA folk in the London market. Thank you to S&W.   

Busy, busy, busy
The export credit market had a particularly busy time last week, with a number of key deals being secured. Of course, there were also some project finance deals making the headlines too – but as one banker related last week, probably some 60% of project finance deals now also involve export credit agency support and involvement. This is a considerable change from a few years ago.
 
In one project transaction arranged by Barclays, UK Export Finance backed a $43 million deal for a desalination plant being developed by Biwater in the British Virgin Islands (TXF News 20 December).
 
In another classic example, Saudi Electric Company (SEC) signed the first loans related to the development of the South Jeddah Power Project. The $2 billion debt part of the funding is being met with loans from JBIC, Kexim and commercial banks (TXF News 19 December).
 
Elsewhere, US Ex-Im dived in with $694 million to back exports of Caterpillar, GE and Atlas Copco equipment for the Australian Roy Hill iron ore mine (TXF News 19 December). The much-delayed $10 billion project, with an overall $7 billion debt package looks to have gained considerable momentum with this and a Kexim involvement also recently pledged.
 
And in a landmark shipping deal, United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) closed a $1.251 billion multi-tranche syndicated loan facility for the partial financing of container ships (TXF News 20 December). The overall $1.744 billion debt package has been coordinated by Deutsche Bank.
 
So, here’s a little quiz for y’all – which company stands out big-time in three of the four deals mentioned above? The answer is at the bottom of this weekly news.
 
Russian banks to the fore
The natural resources/commodity finance scene seems to have been dominated by Russian players over the last week. The most recent deal is with Russian fertiliser production company Uralkali which signed an unsecured, non-revolving $2 billion credit line with Sberbank (TXF News 20 December).
 
Earlier in the week, Metalloinvest refinanced loans amounting to $1.67 billion with Sberbank (TXF News 17 December). And aluminum producer Rusal signed an agreement with VTB Capital for the establishment of a credit line with a total aggregate amount of up to RUB15 billion ($456 million) (TXF News 16 December).
 
Interestingly, Rosneft has also taken the opportunity to make some early big repayments on its debt (TXF News 17 December).

Away from Russia, in Asia-Pacific, Deutsche Bank, working together with steel trader Duferco, arranged one of the largest structured pre-payment loan facilities ever seen for a Chinese company - an $800 million steel pre-payment for China-based Tangshan Iron & Steel Group (TXF News 16 December).
 
To share is a virtue
On the trade finance front, the IFC and Standard Chartered signed a unique renminbi (RMB) risk sharing agreement. The agreement marks the IFC’s first venture into RMB-denominated cross-border trade finance in the overall facility of up to RMB3 billion ($500 million) (TXF News 16 December).
 
And in the Middle East, Saudi Arabian-based water and power project developer, ACWA Power secured a SR1.77 billion Islamic loan from four local banks (TXF News 18 December). The loan shows the depth of local liquidity and is also the first syndicated revolver the company has entered into.
 
Where are you now?

It never ceases to amaze me just how difficult it is for many banks to relay detail about changes in personnel – but often this is not down to the individual bankers concerned, more often it is the fault of cautious communications departments or slow management. Sigh! So, I won’t tell you just yet as to the several moves I (and probably you) know about – for risk of offending the sensitivities of any institutions. I will tell you in the next weekly news.
 
For now though, you will have noticed we mentioned thatPaul van Heerde had been made the new global head of trade and commodity finance at ING (TXF News 19 December). And in another move, Deutsche Bank has appointed Maria Cristina Ricciardi as head of global transaction banking for Latin America (TXF News 18 December).
 
What song?
Some of you may be wondering where the song is this week – well sorry, there isn’t one. And last week’s song was Absent Friends by Genesis. Nobody got that. Tough! There were of course several other songs in last week’s news – including tunes by Frank Zappa, the Stones, Bon Jovi (euk!) etc. The song comp may come back in the New Year – but may not, as I’m running short of Zimbabwean dollars!
 
And finally...
The answer for the company I asked you about, is of course, Hyundai Heavy Industries. They are truly everywhere!!
 
And finally, finally…
We are looking for the 10 Best Deals of 2013 – so do send in your submissions.
 
And finally, finally, finally…..
My family tells me it is Christmas – and TXF will take a break for a few days. Our thanks to all of you who have worked with us through our first six months. We very much look forward to even closer cooperation with many more through 2014.
 
So from everybody at TXF, we would like to wish you all a wonderful Christmas holiday period and a very happy, healthy and rewarding New Year.
 
Cheers

Jonathan Bell
Editor in Chief

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