By Nicolas Parasie
Investment bank still expects Mideast to be one of the fastest growing regions for deals, longer term.
Rothschild has been the Middle East's busiest advisor on mergers and acquisitions so far in 2009, data shows, underlining the growth potential for independent investment banks in the region.
Rothschild, which has worked on deals worth $15.4 billion so far this year, precedes Deutsche Bank AG and Morgan Stanley in league tables set out in a study released by Thomson Reuters on Tuesday.
Despite investment banking activity having fallen to pre-boom year levels in the Middle East, Rothschild in the past year has doubled the number bankers working from Dubai to around 20, a strategy that is paying off.
"Our strategy is long-term driven, our view remains that we expect this to be one of the fastest-growing regions," said Michael Helou, co-head of investment banking in the Middle East for Rothschild.
"The crisis didn't change our plans, it's been almost business as usual," Helou said, adding that Qatar and Saudi Arabia are the regional markets where the investment bank sees more opportunities to expand its presence.
The family-owned and unlisted investment bank has worked on three of this year's six biggest deals in the Middle East, including an advisory role for Volkswagen AG in its $9.6 billion deal with Qatar Investment Authority.
Measured by total fee income, Morgan Stanley is top of the league in the Middle East, ahead of arch rival Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Morgan Stanley, which conducted a management sweep of its Middle Eastern franchise in recent months, rebounded from last year when it ranked seventh in the first nine months of the year, according to Thomson Reuters data.
International investment banks have, since 2004, expanded heavily in the Middle East, especially in the UAE, on the back of an economic boom fuelled by rising oil prices and a red hot real estate market.
But the global crisis put an end to four lucrative years and the combined total of $431 million in earned fees in the first nine months of 2009 marks a 57 percent drop compared to the same period in 2008, and is only slightly above full-year 2005.
Calyon, a subsidiary of French bank Credit Agricole , ranks first in syndicated loans.
Middle Eastern debt issuance rose 43 percent to $21.8 billion compared with the same period a year ago. (Reuters)
Funny how a bank can perform so well while still laying off staff. 2 of my frineds who work in this lively joint have been laid of yesterday among 300 others.. Greed still rules and seems the crisis is far from over if a bank doing "well" as claimes by the article lay off staff meaning that they do not anticipate any growth for a minimum 12 monre months... Any comments?