| LONDON, March 31
LONDON, March 31 Syndicated lending in Europe,
the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) fell to $140.2 billion in the
first quarter, the lowest first quarter volume since $128.7
billion in 2004, and 41 percent down on first quarter 2013,
Thomson Reuters LPC data shows.
Low deal flow has seen terms and conditions for borrowers
continue to improve as banks bid aggressively to win rare
mandates but with bond markets and equity markets open for
business, borrowers have an increased range of funding
alternatives to choose from.
"It's strange that volumes aren't reflecting the wider level
of activity, the amount of good client engagement and the amount
of pitching that is going on. The market feels pretty positive,
it's just that there has been limited follow through to actual
deal flow," a senior banker said.
The continued absence of large-scale M&A financing also hit
volumes. Loans backing acquisitions were 61 percent down
year-on-year at $15.2 billion as borrowers postponed purchases,
turned to other markets for funding or used cash of balance
Despite competitive market conditions that have led to a
further squeeze on pricing, refinancing was down 31 percent down
year on year, as most refinancing has already been completed
with only a few big names remaining to tap the market.
(Editing by Christopher Mangham)