Goldman Sachs made its mark in Australia’s record year for ECM with leading roles in the country’s largest deals, leveraging its ability to navigate through market uncertainty.
Boutique firms expanded aggressively in Australia and poached rainmakers from leading banks in 2021, but Goldman Sachs fought its way to the top of the league table.
Following Ian Taylor’s return from New York to head Australia and New Zealand ECM in November 2020, Goldman made further hires in 2021 to strengthen its team.
“This has obviously been a focus for a number of years to get our ECM position back to where we’ve wanted to be for a while and I think that’s an effort both on the investment banking side of the business, the equity side of the business, but also the equity capital markets team,” said Zac Fletcher, co-head of investment banking for Australia and New Zealand at Goldman Sachs.
The consistency, as well as the sophisticated ability to tailor-make capital market solutions from traditional industry to new economy clients, enabled the US bank to complete 29 deals for almost A$10bn (US$7.2bn) of league table credit during IFR’s awards period. That gave it a market share of 17.9%, 7.3 percentage points ahead of its closest competitor, according to Refinitiv data.
Goldman led the pack in follow-ons, convertible bonds and blocks, and arranged three out of the four largest IPOs last year.
It helped biotechnology company CSL raise A$6.3bn from the largest-ever primary follow-on in Australia to fund its proposed acquisition of Swiss drugmaker Vifor Pharma.
The deal came in mid-December, not a usual window for a mega transaction, but Goldman demonstrated its risk appetite for the right clients, hard underwriting the deal with one other bank and pricing it at an 8.2% discount.
Goldman also helped buy-now-pay-later company Afterpay raise A$1.5bn from an upsized convertible bond at a 45% conversion premium, the highest for an Australian issuer. Afterpay’s co-CEOs concurrently raised a combined A$121m from a delta placement that was offered to investors to hedge their risk from the CB.
Besides fintech clients, Goldman also led fundraisings for traditional finance companies. It arranged a A$1.35bn placement and entitlement offer for Bank of Queensland to fund the acquisition of ME Bank, and also executed a A$489m block trade in Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia over the course of a Sunday, riding on support from large cornerstone investors. Macquarie Group in November picked the US bank to help lead a A$1.49bn institutional placement.
In New Zealand, Goldman’s impressive book of business included a sole-led NZ$110m (US$75m) placement for real estate investment company Stride Property in November and a NZ$115m placement for Vital Healthcare Property Trust in October.
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