Volatility in the financial markets and uncertainty in the economy arising from the Covid-19 outbreak have impacted investment banking activities in India.
Fees generated from investment banking activities have fallen by 33.6% in India to $222.0 million in the first quarter of 2020 from a year ago, according to Refinitiv, a provider of financial markets data and infrastructure.
The figure is the lowest since the first quarter of 2016 ($122.9 million).
In its India investment banking review, Refinitiv said that completed mergers and acquisitions (M&As) advisory fees also fell to $35.5 million, down 66.1% from a record start last year. Debt capital markets (DCM) underwriting fees totaled $73.2 million, down 22.6% from a year ago, while syndicated lending fees fell 37.3% from last year to $58.0 million.
However, equity capital markets (ECM) underwriting fees reached $55.3 million, a 30.3% increase from the same period in 2019.
For the quarter ended March 2020, Axis Bank took the top spot in India’s investment banking fee league tables with 8.3% wallet share and $18.5 million in related fees. ICICI Bank followed in the second place, taking an 8.1% wallet share while State Bank of India placed third with an 8.0% share.
“Corporate deal-making activity in India has been hampered as the Coronavirus pandemic drew and redirected the attention of the global community and spurred volatile markets,” says Elaine Tan, a senior analyst with Refinitiv.
Tan explains that overall the M&A activity involving Indian companies slowed down and reached $23.2 billion in the first quarter of 2020, a stark 14.0% lower as compared to the first quarter of 2019. Also, the first quarter of 2020 witnessed its third decline since the record start in 2018 ($31.1 billion), and the number of announced deals also fell by 14.1% during the first quarter of 2020, making it the slowest first quarter since 2016.
However, the equity scene was not that gloomy as India’s ECM raised $5.9 billion this year, up 62.0% in proceeds from the first quarter of 2019. During the quarter, India witnessed the issuance of SBI Cards and Payment Services’ $1.4-billion initial public offering (IPO), the biggest since The New India Assurance Co.’s $1.5 billion IPO last November 2017. “Nevertheless, market turmoil brought by the pandemic has driven companies to defer their IPO plans,” says Tan.
Engaged in deals intelligence within Refinitiv’s investing and advisory division in Asia-Pacific, Tan counts Equitas Small Finance Bank, Burger King India, and Rossari Biotech as the Indian companies which could have raised an estimated $521.1 million in combined total, if the market scenario was not so dampened.
Further, Refinitiv’s review also highlighted that cross-border M&A in India slowed down as both inbound and outbound activity declined. India’s inbound M&A activity fell 30.3% from a year ago and reached $6.1 billion. France, Japan, and the United States were the most active foreign acquirers in India, and accounted for 33.3%, 19.0%, and 16.5% market share, respectively, of India’s inbound M&A.
And India’s outbound M&A transactions fell 69.4% from the same period last year and totaled $369.5 million, the lowest start to a year since 2013 ($315.5 million). The United States was the top targeted nation in terms of value as well as number of acquisitions from Indian companies with 9 deals worth $228.7 million, or 61.9% market share.
The majority of the deal-making activity involving India targeted the energy & power sector which totaled $7.6 billion in deal value, up 82.8% from a year ago and captured a 32.7% market share. Financials and industrials rounded out the top three industries with 21.3% and 19.8% market share, respectively.
KPMG and HSBC Holdings are tied at the top spot on the M&A league tables, with $1.5 billion in related deal value each worth 6.5% market share. ICICI Bank takes the third spot with a 4.5% market share.
Within the ECM space, Bharti Airtel had launched its $2 billion qualified institutional placement (QIP) of shares – largest Indian ECM issuance to date – and a $1.0 billion convertible bond issue. These issuances brought follow-on offerings, which accounted for 63.4% of India’s overall ECM proceeds, up 37.6% from a year ago, raising $3.8 billion in the first quarter of 2020.
Bharti Airtel’s issuance was the reason for the telecommunications sector accounting for the majority of India’s ECM activity with 51.1% market share worth $3 billion in proceeds. Financials took second place with 26.7% market share, while retail rounded out the top three sectors with 9.7% market share of India’s ECM activity. Follow-on offerings apart, the quarter witnessed IPOs by Indian companies totaling to $1.2 billion, a 26.4% increase in proceeds from the same period last year.
Refinitiv also highlighted that BofA Securities currently leads the ranking for India’s ECM underwriting with $861.8 million in related proceeds and 14.5% market share. Axis Bank and HSBC Holdings take the second and third place, with a market share of 10.6% and 9.6%, respectively.
Given the fragile state of the global economy, which is bracing for a recession, while it is too early to crystal gaze, but the second quarter of 2020 would show suppressed signs as the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic is ongoing.
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