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New Silk Road Finance Awards

Middle East and Africa: Best International Bank for BRI 2020

HSBC

HSBC is head and shoulders above its peers in this award – as it should be. The UK-headquartered institution is the leading foreign lender in China and a powerhouse in the Middle East: in Euromoney’s Awards for Excellence 2020, it was awarded best investment bank for the region, as well as best bank for sustainable finance and for transaction services.

The connectivity it provides for Chinese corporate and financial institutions investing in the Middle East along the Belt and Road is second to none. Everywhere you look, it is a leader, both in action and in theory.

Early in the lifespan of China’s vast geopolitical project, HSBC was firm in its desire to be the world’s number-one bank for BRI. It has dedicated China desks in the UAE, serving its global banking and markets team and its commercial banking team, as well as a China desk in Cairo and 40 Mandarin speakers scattered around the region.

The dots are starting to join up. Over the last 12 months, it held BRI-themed roadshows in five regional markets, including Algeria, Turkey and Oman. Covid-19 has not stalled this programme but moved it online; since the start of 2020, HSBC has held virtual BRI events for clients, helping to plug them into investment opportunities. As things stand, HSBC banks more than 100 Chinese corporations across the Middle East.

That focus shows up in the deal flow and in its bottom line. Revenues generated in the Middle East from HSBC’s China business corridor jumped 42% year on year in 2019, with the volume of renminbi-denominated trade rising 78% over the same period.

It also completed a host of big-ticket BRI deals. Examples include State Grid International Development’s 49% acquisition of Oman Electricity Transmission – with HSBC acting as sole financial adviser to the buyer – and a joint venture between China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) and the UAE-based National Projects and Construction.

HSBC extended a $558 million package of guarantees, cash management, forex solutions, and trade, supply chain and receivables finance to CRCC, to fund the second stage of a railway project overseen by the UAE government.

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