Southeast Asia: Best Regional Bank for BRI 2019
DBS’s importance to the Belt and Road Initiative becomes more apparent every year. Over the last 12 months, the Singapore-based lender provided financial advice and services to five projects backed by mainland corporates in three BRI countries.
At the head of the deal list is the construction of a new container terminal at Khalifa Port in the UAE, to be owned by Abu Dhabi Ports Company and China Cosco Shipping.
DBS is mandated lead arranger and structuring bank on a $260 million term loan facility, structured as a 15-year limited recourse financing. The bank also acted as joint global coordinator on ICBC Singapore’s triple-currency $2.2 billion green bond in April 2019, the first of its kind issued by the Chinese bank, with the proceeds to be used for financing green BRI projects.
Under Lim Wee Seng, global head of project finance, DBS has been busy across the region, supporting and funding $5.2 billion worth of BRI deals. The list includes project finance for the following: China Datang Group’s $550 million, Sinosure-supported coal-fired power plant in Indonesia; Shenzhen Energy Group and Sinohydro Corporation’s $800 million hydroelectric power plant in Papua New Guinea; and China Hongqiao Group’s alumina refinery in Indonesia, with a projected build cost of $1 billion.
DBS’s arrival as a staunch member of the international BRI banking community is no accident. The Singapore lender has been steadily expanding its presence in mainland China, where it employs 12 infrastructure bankers in Beijing alone, including four dedicated purely to project finance. It also boasts project finance teams in Singapore and Vietnam, and has 12 onshore branches in China.
The bank’s ability to strategise and plan for a future in which it is widely viewed as a pan-Asian lender with a global presence is underscored by the two memoranda of understanding it has signed with China Development Bank and Sinosure.