Jason Corcoran in Moscow -
Deutsche Bank has retained its leading status in Russia's capital markets in 2007 despite being buffeted by the loss of key rainmakers and increased competition in Moscow from bulge-bracket banking rivals like Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers.
Deutsche, which has over 800 staff in Moscow, shed its UFG brand in October having completed the acquisition of the local brokerage late in 2006. The German bank's leading drummer-up of business in Russia, Nick Jordan, left for Lehman Brothers during the year and his investment banking co-head Ilya Sherbovich is winding down before he joins his own fledgling boutique United Capital Partners next year. Both Jordan and Sherbovich are bringing on board UFG staff to beef up their operations, but this has yet to affect Deutsche's standing in the capital markets tables.
According to data provider Thomson Financial, Deutsche is the leading equities bookrunner so far this year from its involvement in 10 issues worth over $5.3bn. Renaissance Capital is second from its share of 14 issues worth $4.3bn, while Citigroup completes the top trio with 4 issues worth $4bn. Deutsche, which has promoted internally to replace Jordan and Sherbovich, acted as joint global coordinator and bookrunner to VTB Bank in its $8bn IPO in May. It also organised offerings by the electricity suppliers OGK-2 and OGK-3 worth over $2bn and the recent flotation by real estate firm LSR worth $772m.
The head of Deutsche's Russian operations, Charlie Ryan, is nonplussed by Moscow's hiring war, which saw Ed Kaufman move from UBS to Alfa Bank for a guaranteed $15m over two years. "I have seen this movie before," he said earlier this year. "Moscow is not a get-rich scheme, because you need to have all the pieces of infrastructure in place like we do. A lot of our competitors are becoming increasingly desperate because they can't achieve scale. They are planning tennis without a net."
This year saw the return to Moscow of Goldman, Lehman and Nomura, all of which fled in 1998 nursing losses from the financial crisis and the subsequent bond default. A boom in consumer spending, oil tilting towards $100 a barrel, a record number of IPOs and high economic growth are the main reasons drawing them back.
Goldman, the world's most profitable and respected investment bank, has made little inroads yet into the Russian market. The co-heads of its Russian operation both left for local firms during the year, with Gordon McCulloch heading for Renaissance and Magomed Galaev leaving to run an oligarch's investments. Goldman is fifth in Thomson's equity table, eighth in mergers and acquisitions, and 11th in debt capital markets; Lehman is nowhere.
Other Western banks already active in Russia, such as Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan, are desperately trying to build scale in an already saturated market. Merrill is fighting tooth and nail with JP Morgan for the top adviser crown on M&A involving Russian companies. Morgan Stanley is in third and Deutsche is fourth. Overall, Russian M&A activity has more than doubled this year to a record $127bn (€86.2bn), according to Thomson's figures.
JP Morgan, which was frustrated in its efforts to buy a local brokerage, snatched a team of 16 analysts, traders and institutional sales people from Russia's MDM Bank in July. Its Russian operation has maintained relationships with state-run entities and large corporations in Russia, acting as joint bookrunner last year on the $10.7bn flotation of Rosneft and was one of the two international placement agents for this year's $8.8bn listing by Sberbank.
Germany's Dresdner Kleinwort is trying to re-establish its leading position in equity capital market by hiring an additional 60 bankers. Dresdner has fallen out of the top 22 in Thomson's equity capital markets tables in the year to date after topping the poll in 2007 thanks to its joint-bookrunner mandates on the Rosneft and TMK IPOs. In M&A, Dresdner is 18th compared with its ninth position in 2006.
Dresdner has been rebuilding since the departure last year of Bob Foresman, head of the Moscow office, to Renaissance. Foresman subsequently hired six bankers from Dresdner. Matthias Warnig, former chairman of Dresdner's Russian business, also joined VTB's board ahead of its flotation although he remains involved on a part-time basis.
A surprise new entrant in the top five is St Petersburg's own KIT Finance, which worked on five deals worth over $19m. The up-and-coming bank has benefited from close links to a number of oligarchs and is plotting its own IPO for early next year.
In debt capital markets, the Western banks with big pockets retain a stranglehold at the top of the table. Dutch bank ABN AMRO, with 14 deals worth $3.7bn is just ahead of Citigroup while Deutsche Bank is third.
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