Europe tops league tables in 2013

A growing stream of deals has allowed the region to reclaim its crown over Asia Pacific last year – a trend confirmed in the last quarter.

Western Europe is back on track. While 2012 saw Asia Pacific take the lead in terms of deal activity, data freshly compiled by Infrastructure Investor Research & Analytics shows the region reclaiming the top spot again in 2013.

Boosted by large refinancings – such as that of Germany’s OGE and the UK’s Perenco, both over $2.5 billion – as well as top-ranking projects – including Italy’s Brebemi and the UK’s Thameslink Rolling Stock – Western Europe notched 200 deals worth more than $68 billion last year. Asia Pacific came second in terms of numbers (with 120 entries) but only third behind the Middle East (which posted $66 billion worth of deals) when looking at values.

Not every European market enjoyed tailwinds, however. The UK, at almost $26 billion, dominated the country league, but Italy and Germany, with $9.7 billion and $7.3 billion, respectively came eighth and tenth. The ranking was otherwise dominated by the US ($24.7 billion), Australia ($20.6 billion) and Saudi Arabia ($17.5 billion).

Figures for the last quarter seemed to confirm the trend, with Western Europe trumping Asia’s 22 percent market share with 35 percent of global deals. The UK also topped the Q4 table, although this time France and Italy staged a strong comeback by respectively coming seventh and third. A surprise newcomer in the top 10 was Slovakia, although this was down to one large refinancing (the $1.7 billion R1 Expressway deal).

The annual and quarterly tables told a different story in some categories. The winning sector of 2013 was undoubtedly energy, which generated eight out of the 10 largest transactions of the year – topped by the $9 billion Nghi Son Refinery Project in Vietnam. Energy posted $114 billion worth of deals last year, leaving transport trailing behind with $70 billion.

Yet in Q4 transport switched gears: the sector posted more than $20 billion of deals in the three months to end December, while energy recorded only $15 billion. Road transactions similarly dominated the sub-sector ranking with nearly $11 billion, in front of power and gas. A notable challenger was renewable energy, which posted 240 transactions during the full year and $10.7 billion in Q4.

The last quarter also proved an exception when looking at lead arrangers. Mitsubishi and Sumitomo, with deal book values of over $6 billion each, remained far ahead of their rivals over the course of 2013. But in the last quarter Australian lenders were the strongest, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac firmly in control of the podium.