UK hosts party, Japan finds the money

It may come as something of a surprise to those castigating the UK for a lack of delivery, but that country sits atop the league tables for the second quarter of this year, having delivered projects worth almost $7.3 billion.

While it’s true that it will be a while before the bulk of projects in the UK’s £375 billion (€471 billion; $632 billion) National Infrastructure Plan come to fruition, April 2014 was notable for the $4.6 billion financial close of phase two of the East Coast Main Line (Intercity Express Programme) rail project.

The year is shaping up to be a strong one for the UK, which was positioned fourth in our country table in the first quarter. The same could also be said for Australia, which was ranked in the runner-up spot in both the first and second quarters. In the most recent three months, it was home to the $2.0 billion Sydney Airport refinancing and the $1.7 billion Newcastle coal terminal transaction.

In our mandated lead arranger (MLA) league table for Q2, Japanese influence remains strong. Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp (SMBC) maintains the lead it had at the end of the first quarter, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group rises from sixth at the end of Q1 to second this time.

An interesting dynamic in the MLA table is the clustering of European banks in positions four to ten. While they have not yet regained their place as the dominant force in global project finance, there are signs that the Europeans are coming back. Their continued progress or otherwise will be interesting to monitor in the coming quarters.

Meanwhile, having been outdistanced by transport in the first quarter, energy has regained its traditional place at the top of the sector table. In Q1, five of the six largest deals were transport deals but, in Q2, seven of the ten largest deals were in either the traditional or renewable energy segments. The largest of all was the $5.7 billion Sohar Refinery project in Oman.