Keeping score: U.S. bonds, European convertibles, Chinese IPOs

From this week’s Thomson Reuters Investment Banking Scorecard:


For the second consecutive week, the volume of corporate investment grade debt in the US market topped the $20 billion mark, bolstered by benchmark names in the energy & power and financial sectors.   Shell International Finance raised $5 billion via Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank, while Canada’s Cenovus Energy raised $3.5 billion this week.

Investment grade debt activity from non-financial issuers totals $372.3 billion for year-to-date 2009, already besting the previous all-time record for annual non-financial activity set in 2001 when $360.5 billion in new corporate issues were brought to market.

While global convertible bond activity is down 46% over 2008, the market for convertible bonds in Europe has picked up dramatically, with $24.1 billion in new convertible offerings – a 50% year-over-year increase.  Issuers in the materials, financial and industrial sectors account for nearly 60% of this year’s volume in Europe.  Deals from Anglo American, Arcelor Mittal and Alcatel Lucent top the list of convertible offerings this year.

Morgan Stanley leads the year-to-date European convertible bond league table with $4.6 billion or 19.2% of overall activity from 17 new issues this year.  BNP Paribas and Calyon round out the top three underwriters.


With two multi-billion dollar initial public offerings this week, Chinese IPO activity totals $17.9 billion for year-to-date 2009, a 7% increase over last year at this time and one of the few markets to see gains over 2008.  China Metallurgical Construction Corp raised $2.4 billion in the second largest Chinese IPO this year, while China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) raised $1.1 billion on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Window opening for clean tech IPOs?

The upcoming initial public offering of A123 Systems could help ease the way for more clean-tech stock offerings, one of the early investors in the battery maker said this week.
The company, which Chrysler has chosento produce lithium-ion batteries for its upcoming electric cars, set an IPO price range of $8 to $9.50 per share, which would raise up to $244 million, based on the 25.7 million shares it plans to sell.
“It will certainly be good for the sector just to get a real exit out there, both from a branding standpoint and from a  financing standpoint,” said Jamie Kiggen, chief investment officer for clean tech ventures at Blackstone Group, who in his previous job at Alliance Bernstein was an early investor in the Watertown, Massachusetts-based battery maker.
“If the IPO window opens up, that helps all of us,” Kiggen said at a Boston conference organized by the Cleantech Group.
A123 first filed its IPO plans with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in August 2008. 
While the IPO market has picked up in recent months after a rough 2008, A123 would be the first U.S. clean tech company to go public since July 2008.