HSBC’s loan franchise continues to thrive alongside its equally well-performing bond market franchise. The breadth and complexity of HSBC’s deals made the bank stand out in these awards. Its book included local currency deals, project financings, and transactions for companies new to the loan market, covering a wide range of industries and countries: from banking, to mining, to oil and gas, and from Peru, to Brazil to Mexico.
Among HSBC’s deals were many of the biggest loans of the period. In March the bank led a senior unsecured loan for Peru’s Sociedad Minera Cerro Verde, majority owned by US mining group Freeport-McMoRan.
The loan was to finance an expansion of the Cerro Verde mine, one of Peru’s oldest. Despite coming at a tough time for the mining industry, demand pushed the size of the deal above the initial amount sought, from $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion.
Twenty-two banks from four continents jumped in. The deal won Best Loan and Best Mining Financing in LatinFinance’s 2014 Infrastructure Finance awards.
“The group of participating institutions was truly diverse,” says Monica Macia, head of Latin American syndicated loans at HSBC, speaking of the Cerro Verde deal. “The market hadn’t seen such a large deal in Peru in a long time. It was really exciting to do that transaction.”
HSBC also led a 30 billion peso ($2.2 billion) local currency senior unsecured term loan to Mexican state-owned oil and gas company Pemex in September.
“Pemex definitely knows the syndicated loan market in dollars, so what’s interesting about this deal is that it was the first widely syndicated loan in pesos for Pemex, and it was a 10-year,” says Macia.
“Usually, for a 10-year tenor, there is a type of structure, such as project finance. But this was a corporate loan to Pemex in pesos.”
One of the bank’s deals early in 2014 took Banco do Brasil into the syndicated loan market for the first time in the state-owned bank’s 206-year history, with a $1 billion three- and four-year senior unsecured loan, paying 135 basis points and 150 basis points over Libor, respectively. “I think it was important to close the deal, garnering demand from new banks in addition to relationship banks,” Macia says. “It was something that Banco do Brasil wanted to do.”
HSBC also brought Mexican movie theater chain Cinemex into the loan market with a senior unsecured five-year, 2 billion peso loan. HSBC was sole lead arranger and bookrunner on the deal.
Among HSBC’s more complex mandates was a $175 million, one-year bridge loan to Grupo México in October that preceded a $275 million, five-year structured deal in July, secured against oil platforms.
HSBC also arranged a $1.3 billion, one-year backstop bridge loan and acquisition facility for Colombian oil and gas company Pacific Rubiales in November, followed by a $250 million, three-year senior unsecured loan for the same client in August.
“The challenge was timing,” Macia says of the Pacific Rubiales deal. “We had to be very quick to put the money in front, and we had to be sure that we were comfortable with the takeout.” LF