CITIC poised to beat Goldman to become first China firm to lead Asia equity rankings

HONG KONG (Reuters) - CITIC Securities looks set to become the first Chinese firm to top annual equity capital markets (ECM) rankings for Asia-Pacific excluding Japan this year, a nose ahead of Goldman Sachs GS.N, according to data from Refinitiv.

FILE PHOTO: A CITIC Securities logo is seen at a building where its branch is located in Beijing, China, March 23, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Goldman, Morgan Stanley MS.N and other western banks have traditionally battled for top spot in the region, where ECM activity averages an outsized 34% of the investment banking fee pool, compared with 25% globally.

State-backed CITIC Securities 600030.SS6030.HK, China's biggest brokerage, has so far this year won $15.7 billion credit for deals it and Hong Kong-based unit CLSA have worked on, according to Refinitiv.

Goldman has $15.4 billion credit, while China International Capital Corp (CICC) 3908.HK was third with $14.7 billion and Morgan Stanley fourth with $14.3 billion.

Last year Goldman was first while CITIC Securities was seventh.

CITIC Securities and Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

The league tables split credit for each deal between all banks involved regardless of the seniority of their roles. A top rank requires work on many deals.

CITIC’s leading role underscores the growing importance of deals involving mainland Chinese companies, an area that domestic players dominate.

“China has always been a big part of the whole Asia-Pacific deal issuance,” said a Hong Kong-based senior ECM banker at a global bank. “Next year is going to be similar to this year.”

CITIC’s biggest deals this year include leading Shanghai Pudong Development Bank’s $7.1 billion convertible bond sale and a $5.9 billion convertible bond deal, alongside Goldman’s China unit and UBS, for sister company China CITIC Bank.

Overall, across Asia Pacific including Japan, ECM volumes fell 11% to $251.2 billion in 2019. But convertible bond sales jumped 44% to $52.9 billion, according to Refinitiv. Follow-on share sales were worth $130.2 billion, down just 4%.

“2018 was much more skewed towards IPOs. This year, the IPOs, follow-ons and equity-linked deals are quite balanced,” said the ECM banker. “From a product perspective, next year is going to be quite balanced too.”

Calculating Asia rankings is complicated by the region's disparate markets. Include Japan, which many banks operate separately from their regional units, and Morgan Stanley tops the table. It is helped by its relationship with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group 8306.T, which owns 23.4% of the U.S. firm.

Morgan Stanley's biggest Asia deals were in Hong Kong through its involvement in Alibaba's $12.9 billion listing and the $5.7 billion spin-off of Anheuser-Busch InBev's ABI.BR Asian business. But it also notched up Tokyo-based deals worth $9.9 billion compared to $5.4 billion for Goldman.

Reporting by Jennifer Hughes and Julie Zhu; Editing by Edwina Gibbs