Hong Kong's best international bank 2019: Citi
Angel Ng’s nimble Citi Hong Kong operation was busy – and profitable – in 2018, her first year in charge as chief executive, thanks in large part to Chris Laskowski’s investment banking division.
Laskowski’s team topped the foreign bank league tables for fixed income and mergers and acquisitions this last year, and ran Morgan Stanley a close second in wallet terms on equity deals.
Laskowski’s highlight was arguably the $4.3 billion deal to take private Gordon Wu’s property and infrastructure group Hopewell Holdings, the largest ever such deal for a local property company. Citi was also lead financial adviser and sole underwriter for Wu’s related $2.7 billion in acquisition financing.
The bank also had a hand in South African tech investor Naspers’ $9.8 billion sell-down of Chinese technology group Tencent, part of a stake in Tencent that Naspers had held since 2001. Citi says the deal was the largest non-privatization block trade in history.
Citi handled China Evergrande’s $2.3 billion convertible bond offering, the largest such deal in Asia outside Japan in 18 years, and was financial adviser in the Tung family-led $8.4 billion sale of their Orient Overseas shipping group to China’s state-owned Cosco Shipping and Shanghai International Port Group. Beyond the corporate and investment bank, Citi’s domestic consumer banking had a tidy year, with a 42% year-on-year rise in mobile-active card customers. It all helped total revenues for Citi’s Hong Kong franchise to leap almost 15% to $2.27 billion, with pre-tax profit a healthy 25% higher at $1.43 billion, while Citi Hong Kong’s total assets climbed 12% to $50 billion.