Australia/New Zealand Loan House: National Australia Bank

IFR Asia Awards 2019
3 min read
Mariko Ishikawa

Strength in Depth

In an increasingly competitive and challenging market, National Australia Bank stood out for its ability to offer a wide variety of financing solutions across the credit spectrum.

“One of the key differentiators is our absolute breadth,” said Jaqueline Fox, general manager, capital markets and advisory. “When you have such breadth in your product offering and you’re structurally set up in a way that supports that, that puts the client at the centre … that best enables you to serve ultimately the best insights, quality and coverage.”

NAB was involved in marquee transactions during IFR’s review period, jointly underwriting loans backing the acquisitions of hospital group Healthscope, mobile telecommunications company Vodafone New Zealand, and the office towers above Westfield mall in Sydney.

NAB, along with six other banks, provided a bespoke financing structure which gave Brookfield Asset Management the flexibility to bid for Healthscope by a scheme of arrangement or a hostile takeover. The A$2.15bn (US$1.46bn) loan, in which NAB was an agent, joint mandated lead arranger, underwriter and bookrunner, attracted 24 lenders in syndication. It was the only domestic bank among the lead arrangers of Australia’s largest leveraged buyout loan of the year.

The bank was again on the top line for the A$987.82m loan backing Blackstone’s purchase of office towers from Scentre Group, and jointly led the NZ$1.49bn (US$1bn) loan backing Brookfield and Infratil’s acquisition of Vodafone NZ, the largest deal of the year in New Zealand, through its subsidiary Bank New Zealand.

The bank’s ability to compete with investment banks on some high-profile unitranche and term loan B financings was also notable. NAB provided a super senior revolving tranche for a A$1.125bn unitranche loan backing the leveraged buyout of education provider Navitas, the largest such facility of the year. Additionally, NAB jointly arranged the US$2.25bn term loan B and US$600m revolver supporting IFM Investor’s acquisition of pipeline operator Buckeye Partners.

“More and more investors are able to invest into different markets in different formats,” said Stephen Boyd, head of private capital syndicate. “We’re showing market leadership in providing those investors access to those credits, which is also beneficial for the clients in getting diversity around investors and how they can structure their deals.”

The ‘whole of life’ debt for Australian public private partnership and projects NAB solely underwrote is another highlight which showcases its ability to provide innovative financing solutions. The bank successfully placed a A$252m 10.25-year loan for Infrastructure Capital and ERM Power’s open cycle gas turbine peaking power station in Western Australia, a A$158m 13.75-year loan for Palisade Investment Partners’ Hallett 1 Wind Farm in South Australia, and A$241m 17-year loan for Plenary Research’s AgriBio research facility in Melbourne, to a targeted group of new investors to those assets.

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