CIBC names 2 executives as energy push intensifies

Mon Feb 7, 2011 1:35pm EST

* Art Korpach to focus on energy and utilities globally

* Mark Horsfall to join in May as managing director

TORONTO Feb 7 (Reuters) - Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO) has appointed one of its top energy bankers as its vice chairman of investment banking as it intensifies a push to bolster its position in the energy industry as oil prices trend higher.

CIBC, Canada's No. 5 bank by market capitalization, said Art Korpach, who was its vice chairman and head of global oil and gas and wholesale banking, will focus on the energy and utilities sectors globally in his new job.

The bank said that Mark Horsfall, a 15-year veteran of the sector who is currently at Morgan Stanley in Calgary, will join CIBC in May as managing director and head of global energy.

The bank said the changes were made "in an effort to strengthen and grow our industry-leading energy investment banking franchise."

CIBC has several dozen bankers in Calgary, including a large research team. Among the deals on which it advised in 2010 was a C$1 billion secondary share offering by Husky Energy (HSE.TO), Canada's No. 3 oil producer and refiner.

Investment banks are jockeying for position in the growing oil and gas space in Canada, and the nation's oil capital, Calgary, is drawing dealmakers in increasing numbers.

Last month Rothschild [ROT.UL], a family-owned bank founded in London in 1811, announced plans to open offices in Calgary as part of a drive to expand its advisory business in North America.

Last July Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.TO), Canada's second largest bank, acquired Calgary's Ross Smith Sousa to work on large private deals in the oil and gas sector. In the same month Europe's largest bank, HSBC (HSBA.L), hired a new director for its M&A advisory business in Canada to take advantage of a recovery in dealmaking in the resource sector.

Oil and gas deals comprised about a third of all merger and acquisition activity in Canada last year, with deals ranging in size from the millions to the billions of dollars.

Global oil prices have gained fresh upward momentum recently amid worries unrest in Egypt could spread to other parts of the Middle East and north Africa, disrupting energy supplies. North Sea Brent crude oil futures were back above $100 a barrel on Monday.

A senior Kuwait official said over the weekend that oil prices could exceed $110 per barrel if the turmoil in Egypt continued, while Venezuela said prices could more than double to $200 if the Suez Canal were to close. [ID:nLDE71505M] [ID:nN04224665]

($1=$0.99 Canadian) (Reporting by Pav Jordan; editing by Peter Galloway)

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