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Pakistan's best corporate and investment bank 2019: HBL


In a faltering economy, HBL’s corporate and investment banking business managed to stand tall in 2018.

The commercial banking side experienced record growth, as its lending book expanded 21% in 2018 against the previous calendar year. At the end of 2018, HBL’s lending book was tracking at a record high of PRs63.8 billion ($460 million).

With a large number of China-devoted desks at the head office in Karachi, the capital Islamabad, and uniquely for a foreign bank, in China’s western metropolis Urumqi, HBL has positioned itself for a bonanza from the massive China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure programme. HBL’s investment banking business, run by Farhan Talib, says it closed 10 transactions, worth a total of over $3.5 billion, between September 2017 and September 2018.

Notable deals by the bank included advising Pakistan’s first private-sector transmission line project; this is the CPEC-related, 878-kilometre circuit that is delivering power to Lahore, Pakistan’s second-biggest city, and is a $1.7 billion project backed by the world’s largest utility, China’s State Grid Corporation.

Another big CPEC deal advised by HBL was the $520 million Thar Energy coal station in provincial Sindh, in Pakistan’s south. As of November 2018, HBL has managed $6 billion worth of CPEC business, and that number looks set to rise.

In November, HBL tied up with China’s largest investment bank, China International Capital Corporation Limited (CICC), to jointly provide investment banking services to Pakistan and Chinese companies.

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