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New Silk Road Finance Awards

Overall: Best bank for advising Chinese institutions on BRI 2019

Citi

Beibei Li, Head of Banking and Origination for Belt and Road, Citi.JPG
Beibei Li, Citi

Citi’s presence in 105 of the Belt and Road countries – particularly in Europe and Latin America – puts it in a perfect position to connect Chinese clients.

For Chinese clients wanting to expand in BRI countries, the Citi BRI team, headed by Beibei Li, head of banking and origination for Belt and Road, offers them a complete set of solutions, from opening local bank accounts for funding and liquidity repatriation to getting more local visibility through the Citi Global Platform, an online banking platform that showcases clients’ achievements to global investors.

One project that stands out is Bank of China’s $3.8 billion, eight tranches and five currencies BRI senior bond in April. Citi acted as the left-lead bookrunner on the transaction, in charge of overall coordination, documentation and marketing execution. It is also the only non-Bank of China bookrunner on all tranches.

The ambitious deal scored the most branches, currencies and tranches ever involved for a Belt and Road deal and the first dollar bond transaction from one of the big four Chinese commercial banks in 2019.

Selling a deal originated by a Chinese bank to a diverse group of international investors is not easy. However, the €500 million tranche at BoC’s Frankfurt branch was 3.5 times oversubscribed, with more than €1.75 billion of interest. Although the Frankfurt tranche was not the largest in size, it attracted 110 investors, almost twice as many as the next one. In the final allocation, 83% of the deal went to European investors, 15% in Asia and 2% to the US.

Citi is also willing to follow its clients into BRI regions with strict regulatory regimes. In January 2019, Citi helped PowerChina, the state-owned water, electricity and hydropower company, to obtain regulatory approval in Bangladesh for opening a special dollar account. Thanks to its local expertise and relationship with the central bank, Citi could help the client prepare all the documents required. The whole process took a year.

Citi also leads in M&A activities. It acted as the sole global coordinator, joint bookrunner and lead manager in a deal for Beijing Gas Group. The deal marked the state-owned enterprise’s inaugural acquisition and financing in the offshore market.

With a $500 million bond and a $390 million club loan, the firm successfully acquired a 20% stake in Verkhnechonskneftegaz, a subsidiary of the Russian integrated energy company Rosneft, for a total of $1.1 billion.

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