Client relationship focus translates to deal-making even when the pace is
Argentina’s economy has had a tumultuous few years; so too investment banking activity in the
country. Against this challenging backdrop, Citi has maintained its place of prominence in
investment banking in the country, and in particular in M&A and domestic debt capital
markets activity, winning this year’s award for Investment Bank of the Year in Argentina.
Citi ranked second in M&A deals and fourth in DCM activity in the year to end-June, 2022,
according to Refinitiv – its strength across asset classes is what differentiates it from its peers.
Federico Elewaut, Citi Argentina’s chief executive, notes that the country has been affected by
local financial conditions in addition to the global credit crunch that has impacted capital
markets everywhere this year.
“The interest rate trend has made investment bank activity drop around the world, especially
when it comes to equity and debt markets,” he says. “Argentina is a little more closed right
now because of the currency controls in place. The number of deals is lower than what we
were used to in the past.”
Most of the activity by Argentine issuers has been in the bond space, with companies deploying
liability management strategies to refinance debt issued four of five years ago, when the market
was more dynamic, he says. Such companies are trying to anticipate the refinancing of debt
that matures in 2023 and 2024, thus also pre-empting next year’s electoral cycle.
“Citi has an important presence in Argentina, and a strong relationship with our clients. It
enables us to participate in deals even when there are few of them in the market,” he says.
“We are optimistic that, sooner or later, liquidity for Argentine deals will return. There are
many projects that will need funding in areas such as the Vaca Muerta shale deposits, the
lithium sector and others.”