Best International Corporate and Investment Bank in China 2019
Over the years, Citi has transformed itself into a household brand and a go-to foreign bank in China, both in institutional banking and consumer banking. Last year was a strong one for the firm, which saw 22% growth in its revenues to Rmb6.46 billion ($908 million), and a 63% jump in net profit to Rmb2.55 billion.
In corporate banking, Citi China – whose chief executive Christine Lam is also the president of Citibank (China) – operates from branches across 13 cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, serving clients ranging from large state- and privately owned enterprises, to financial institutions and public sector organizations, and the local subsidiaries of multinational companies.
This unrivalled corporate banking client network, not just in China but globally, and the synergy between corporate and investment banking is at the core of the Citi China’s competitive advantage when it comes to both bringing Chinese clients offshore and helping international investors seek access to the Chinese market.
During our awards period from June 1, 2018 to May 31, 2019, the bank executed 45 equity transactions originating in China and raised $19.6 billion for Chinese issuers, and announced seven China cross-border M&A transactions worth $12 billion.
On the debt side, Citi’s strengths lie in financial and corporate investment-grade bond issuance, thanks to the quality of its corporate banking client base. It was a global coordinator for transactions including Bank of China’s eight-tranche, five currency ‘Belt and Road’ bonds, Bank of China (Hong Kong)’s dollar Basel III-compliant additional tier-1 debut, China Construction Bank’s offshore tier-2 notes, China Petrochemical Corp’s $2.4 billion multi-tranche offering, China Huadian Corp’s senior perpetual deal, as well as China Mengniu Dairy’s popular return to international bonds after a five-year hiatus.
Its growing presence in high yield saw it working as the sole global coordinator for Meinian Onehealth Healthcare Holdings’ bonds, and as a bookrunner for issuers like Xinhu Zhongbao and Times China Holdings.
Citi was a leader in the overall ECM market in Asia Pacific excluding Japan during our awards period and saw over half of its equities deals come from Chinese issuers. Its sole sponsor deals include Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium’s listing in Hong Kong; the bank was also a joint sponsor for Fosun Tourism HK$3.34 billion ($426 million) IPO launched in a volatile December 2018 market and Hope Education’s HK$3.2 billion listing, the largest Hong Kong IPO from the education sector last year. Citi also took the likes of Up Fintech to list in the US.
Existing clients such as tech firm Huya, biopharmaceutical company Zai Lab and Xinyi Solar also entrusted Citi to execute their follow-on offerings. The bank maintained a stellar presence in the equity-linked market with the largest convertible bond in the telecommunications, media and technology sector in Asia in eight years for Lenovo Group.
An experienced adviser in cross-border M&A, the US bank worked on high-profile transactions involving Chinese firms such as Ant Small and Micro Financial Services Group, China Three Gorges and JD Capital. Once again leveraging its strong corporate banking franchise, Citi acted as the financial adviser to Anta Sports’ landmark $6.28 billion acquisition of Finland’s Amer Sports, and was a global coordinator, arranger and agent on the recourse debt financing.
With a leading treasury and cash management and trade finance business, Citi was a star in its renminbi clearing capability, ranking first among foreign banks in overall payment volume through the People’s Bank of China clearing systems.
The Shanghai branch’s cross-border pooling was also second to none. Its cash management clients included China Eastern Airline and Xiaomi Corp.