Singapore Loan House: DBS

IFR Asia Awards 2020
3 min read
Mirzaan Jamwal

Clear leader

DBS Bank outperformed rivals in its home market in 2020 with sole mandates, underwritten transactions, and support for repeat borrowers in challenging sectors even as other banks pulled back from lending in difficult market conditions.

The bank stretched its lead at the top of the Singapore bookrunner league tables with a 31.9% market share, increasing its deal volume from 2019 even as the market shrank by 40%, according to Refinitiv LPC data.

“DBS successfully led the reopening of the Singapore loan market following the liquidity seizure arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, while concurrently driving the IBOR transition for Singapore dollars – a remarkable outcome in an extraordinary year,” said Mildred Chua, head of syndicated finance for Asia.

In April, DBS as sole mandated arranger structured and underwrote a S$4bn (US$2.99bn) syndicated one-year bridge loan to support a recapitalisation of Singapore Airlines and help it meet its near-term financing requirements after a plunge in global air travel.

In the same month, the bank was sole arranger on a US$300m five-year equipment sale and leaseback financing for US-based semiconductor manufacturer Global Foundries, which drew three other lenders.

The bank also put its strong balance sheet to use in September as joint underwriter of a S$900m 5.5-year secured bullet loan for Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust, the first syndicated loan for a Singapore REIT since the Covid-19 outbreak. Eleven banks joined.

The Singaporean lender also led cross-border acquisition financings, helping China’s Aier Eye Hospital Group buy Singapore-listed ISEC Healthcare as sole arranger and underwriter on a S$150m three-year financing. The deal closed in January with three banks joining.

The bank also closed an onshore-offshore transaction in July backing Dasin Retail Trust’s acquisition of two retail malls in China’s Guangdong province. DBS was the sole coordinator on the S$87m and US$34m offshore term loan deal, which attracted five banks.

In the commodities sector, DBS stepped up as sole coordinator and one of four mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners on the first syndicated loan for the sector since the pandemic hit. The Singapore unit of Swiss trader Gunvor Group wrapped up the US$450m 364-day revolving credit facility in June with commitments from 17 relationship banks.

DBS also played a leading role in the switch from the Libor-based Singapore dollar swap offer rate to the Singapore Overnight Rate Average (SORA) as sole bookrunner on a S$200m one-year revolving credit facility for agri-business group Olam International.

The first multi-lender facility to be priced off the new risk-free rate also gave Olam the option to enter a Singapore dollar to US dollar swap with DBS at the start of each interest period. The bank also signed a similar S$200m bilateral with Wilmar International.

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