Asia-Pacific Loan House: Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group

IFR Awards 2023
5 min read
Prakash Chakravarti, Mariko Ishikawa

Home run

As volatility took centre stage on the back of rising interest rates and geopolitical tensions, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group held its ground impressively, facing off intense competition by relying on its home advantage to deliver a good mix of financings, including several on a sole basis, to become IFR’s Asia-Pacific Loan House of the Year.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group excelled in long-tenor loans, particularly for Australian borrowers, as well as event-driven and ESG financings from across Asia-Pacific by leveraging its distribution network. It was at the forefront of the flow of Ninja and Samurai loans – financings syndicated in Japan for foreign companies – in 2023 as borrowers tapped into cheap and abundant Japanese liquidity. MUFG also led noteworthy financings denominated in other Asian currencies and US dollars.

“MUFG’s integrated debt platform across loans and bonds allows us to provide our clients with seamless access to multiple pools of liquidity as well as being able to deliver solutions in complex leveraged and project financing situations,” said Siong Ooi, the bank’s Sydney-based co-head of APAC DCM (loans and bonds) alongside Hong Kong-based Augusto King.

Widely syndicated Samurai financings included a sole mandate for MUFG on an ¥85bn (US$589m) borrowing for US technology giant IBM, and lead roles on a ¥101.3bn facility and a ¥49.1bn sustainability-linked loan for commodities traders Louis Dreyfus and Gunvor Group, respectively.

A ¥167bn 22-year project financing for Kitakyushu-Hibikinada offshore wind farm for which MUFG was one of the three leads, closed with 34 lenders joining to become the largest borrowing for such a project in Japan.

The Japanese mega bank was one of three leads on a ¥270bn ESG assessment-based loan for Hitachi Transport System’s share buyback which was associated with private equity giant KKR’s buyout of Hitachi’s logistics arm. The borrowing taps into products that MUFG has helped establish to assist clients meet ESG objectives and marked the largest such loan from Asia-Pacific involving a financial sponsor-owned business.

Another notable M&A situation was Brookfield’s US$10.6bn bid for Australia’s Origin Energy, although the deal eventually fell through. MUFG, which held the sole debt advisory mandate, was a steadfast financier throughout with its key roles on three of the four debt financings related to the failed M&A deal.

MUFG also was involved in other Australian M&A financings such as a A$2.096bn (US$1.41bn) green loan supporting Squadron Energy’s purchase of CWP Renewables – a rare instance of a stapled financing for an acquisition in Asia-Pacific – as well as a A$560m loan for the acquisition of Geelongport and a A$430m leveraged buyout loan for PRP Diagnostics.

Australasia was a noteworthy region where MUFG clinched the most mandated lead arranger and bookrunner roles for long-dated loans with maturities of up to 12 years, including five on a sole basis. Among them Powerco’s NZ$308.7m-equivalent (US$184m) borrowing marked the first time a New Zealand corporate accessed a 10-year maturity in a syndicated loan format.

In India, MUFG was one of the bookrunners on a US$755m loan for a refinancing and dividend recapitalisation of Sagility Healthcare (formerly HGS Healthcare), a US$3.125bn takeout of acquisition financings for conglomerate Adani Group and a US$1.2bn sustainability-linked loan for pharmaceuticals firm Biocon Biologics’ acquisition of assets from US-based Viatris.

MUFG burnished its ESG credentials with coordinator roles on social loans for Indian lenders HDFC (a US$750m facility) and State Bank of India (a US$1bn debut deal) and was also among the bookrunners on other conventional financings, including all the US$7.45bn-equivalent in multiple deals for Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries.

“MUFG’s coverage of the financing landscape in India has been comprehensive across FI, public sector, private sector and sponsor-led or corporate event-driven financings – all with a keen focus on delivering product-agnostic financing solutions and maximising pools of liquidity available to our clients,” said Shailesh Venkatraman, head of origination (South and South-East Asia) for DCM.

Elsewhere in Asia, MUFG also bagged coordinator roles on ESG financings such as a yen-denominated SLL of around A$650m-equivalent for Australia-headquartered firm AirTrunk, the first such borrowing for a data centre in Japan; a debut A$1.45bn SLL for Blackstone Real Estate’s portfolio of industrial and logistics assets; green financings of NZ$1.84bn and A$852m for Vector Metering and Atmos Renewables, respectively, as well as for Royal North Shore Hospital’s A$450m social loan.

Another noteworthy SLL under MUFG’s belt was a A$4.62bn-equivalent financing for AirTrunk, which attracted over 30 lenders in syndication.

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