Japanese duo make their mark

The continuing rise of the Japanese banks is a feature of Infrastructure Investor Assets’ league tables for the first quarter of 2012. The trend was noted in our full-year league tables for 2011, with SMBC moving up to third place in the global mandated lead arranger (MLA) table and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group taking the last of the top ten places. In the first quarter of 2012, SMBC has edged up to second, behind regular front-runner BBVA of Spain, while Mitsubishi UFJ has leapt up to third.

Between them, the two Japanese banks accounted for more than 17 percent of global project finance MLA activity in the first three months of 2012. Among 19 deals totalling just over $981 million, SMBC lent $190 million to the Cernambi Sul ultra-deepwater floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) project in Brazil. Meanwhile, of its 11 deals worth more than $852 million, Mitsubishi UFJ committed just over $277 million to the Eiffarie and APRR toll road refinancing in France – which, at almost $4.6 billion, was the largest project completed globally in the first quarter.

BBVA has consolidated its place as the leading MLA. Indeed, the first quarter would suggest the Spanish bank may be on the way to establishing a more dominant position with its market share of just over 10 percent in the first quarter of 2012 around double the 5.1 percent share it claimed when finishing top of the table in full-year 2011. The bank’s 25 deals in the first quarter included a $317 million contribution to Eiffarie/APRR. 

Given the large PPP deals completed in the country last year, such as the Tours-Bordeaux high-speed rail concession, there has been much speculation that France would struggle to maintain its full-year 2011 position as the most active market. In the first quarter it has indeed maintained that position with an impressive market share of more than 21 percent. However, around $4.6 billion of its $5.6 billion total was accounted for by the Eiffarie/APRR refinancing – therefore, questions remain over the sustainability of its place at the top of the tree.      

While Saudi Arabia and Malaysia are notable high achievers in the country table, at positions three and four respectively, the drying up of deal flow in the UK is also a feature. The birthplace of PFI recorded just $750 million of activity in the first quarter, a market share of less than 3 percent.