Overall: Best international bank for BRI 2020
Citi has set itself apart from its international peers thanks to its growing dedication to the Belt and Road Initiative this year, building an enviable portfolio of landmark BRI projects.
The US bank has not done the most cross-border debt, equity capital markets and loans deals during the awards period – that accolade went to HSBC, a fierce competitor for this award – but Citi made up for it by completing a basket of signature BRI trades, and when Covid-19 hit, going the extra mile to serve clients in need.
Citi has a presence in 105 BRI markets, more than any other bank. In 2018, the US bank appointed Beibei Li as the head of banking and origination for Belt and Road.
Citi acted as the exclusive financial adviser for China Yangtze Power in its acquisition of Luz del Sur in Peru. The trade was considered one of the most high-profile mergers and acquisitions transactions since 2019. The transaction was also the second-largest M&A deal in the Latin America region, where Citi has managed strong year-on-year growth and sees potential.
Another two projects that stood out are Lenovo’s $3 billion global trade receivables securitization, in which the bank acted as the co-lead structurer. The transaction featured about 20 sellers from different countries along the Belt and Road and more than 10 currencies.
The bank was also the joint bookrunner and joint lead manager of Macau’s debut social bond issued by Bank of China Macau. The proceeds of the HK$4 billion ($516 million) trade are being used to help small and medium-sized enterprises getting through the pandemic.
As Covid-19 swept across the world this year, Citi did its share to help clients who are hit the most. In doing so, the bank gave BRI a new meaning in the context of a global crisis.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the bank worked with a leading Chinese digital payment provider to process donation flows from individuals in BRI countries to Chinese hospitals. Later in the year, when the situation became brighter in China, Citi provided a global remittance solution to a Chinese client so that its employees in countries affected by Covid-19 could receive donation funds.