Southeast Asia: Best Bank for BRI-related financing in the Region 2017
With over 150 years of experience in southeast Asia, more than 400 branches and 25,000 employees in the region and a strong presence in all of the Asean countries, Standard Chartered, whose corporate and investment bank is run by Simon Cooper, is Asiamoney’s pick for best international bank for Belt and Road in southeast Asia.
In September 2016, Standard Chartered signed a cooperation agreement with Shenzhen-based China Merchants Bank so that the two can work together in a number of ways, including project finance and ramping up renminbi internationalization.
Most importantly for China Merchants Bank, however, will be the chance to use Standard Chartered’s extensive branch network in southeast Asia to support their clients’ Belt and Road ambitions on a variety of projects around the region.
The new partnership with China Merchants Bank complements Standard Chartered’s relationships with the Silk Road Fund, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and China Development Bank, among other leading institutions expected to play a central role in Belt and Road financing.
The bank also plays a role in developing the region’s understanding of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, holding roadshows and meeting the media in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Through these engagements, the bank can highlight certain opportunities along the network, facilitate deals and support clients.
Standard Chartered’s extensive capital markets knowledge, expertise and connectivity in the region allow the bank to fully support those Chinese banks that want to do business beyond their borders.
Standard Chartered was involved in nearly 20 deals in 2016 related to Belt and Road in southeast Asia: these included project finance, M&A, loan syndication, cash management and debt financing, and were in a wide range of sectors and industries, from infrastructure to energy. As a result, the bank is also Asiamoney’s best bank for Belt and Road-related finance in southeast Asia.
Some of the bank’s most recent and notable deals include debt financing for Chinese real estate developer Country Garden in Johor, Malaysia. Country Garden’s Forest City development aims to house up to 700,000 people on four artificial islands with office towers, parks, hotels, shopping malls and an international school. With economic incentives and tax breaks in the region, Johor has been dubbed by some Sino-watchers as the next Shenzhen, a reference to China’s first special economic zone, which was developed in the 1980s, and Chinese investors seem keen to set up shop there.
Standard Chartered provided banking support to Chinese automobile company SAIC-GM-Wuling for its first overseas manufacturing base in Cikarang, Indonesia. Opened in July this year, the new facility covers a total area of 600,000 square metres and has an annual capacity of 120,000 vehicles. Supply from the facility will no doubt tap into the region’s growing consumer class.
The bank also supported subsidiaries of the China State Construction Engineering Corporation, which is the third-largest construction company in the world, in Vietnam and Malaysia to issue bonds and guarantees and provided working capital to support their projects.