Deals of the YEar awards
In a market where issuers were reluctant to place new bonds, J.P. Morgan made the most of it by taking part in some of the most significant debt capital raisings of the awards period.
In doing so, it also ended up at the top of the bond rankings, according to Refinitiv. The bank closed the period between October 2021 and September 2022 as the leader in bond issuance by volume, totaling $10.3 billion, while coming second in terms of fees, at an estimated $27.25 million.
The firm’s overall performance earned it the award for Bond House of Year. This wasn’t just a matter of client relationships – it was also in large part thanks to the bank’s ability to pick the right timing to go to market in an extremely challenging environment, says managing director and head of Latin American debt capital markets, Lisandro Miguens.
In March, J.P. Morgan helped América Móvil identify a favorable window to place a $1 billion, 10-year innovative “travel” bond as the market drew breath some weeks after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That deal won the award for Corporate Bond of the Year.
In August, the firm advised the Mexican government on placing a $1.8 billion, 11-year bond, paying 4.875%, as part of the country’s liability management program. That deal broke a two-month drought in sovereign issuance.
“We were able to do that because we anticipated the opportunity, and not because we got a call when the window opened,” Miguens says. “We push our bankers to identify when the next market windows will come, so clients can take advantage of them.”
In the realm of sustainable financings, J.P. Morgan worked as global coordinator on the $1.1 billion sustainability-linked bond (SLB) for Central American Bottling Corporation (CBC) – a deal which won the award for Corporate ESG Deal of the Year, having set a number of precedents including the largest ever SLB by a Latin American issuer outside Brazil, the first SLB by a Central American issuer and the first SLB in international markets from a bottling company in the Americas.
The firm also helped lead the largest ever sustainable bond by a Latin American corporate, at $1.75 billion, and the first ever 30-year sustainable bond in Mexico, issued last February by Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE).
The firm also led key liability management transactions in the region, including the first liability management exercise conducted by Bolivia in the international capital markets, as well as strategic exchanges in the face of challenging circumstances, such as faced Argentine companies Pampa Energía and Grupo Albanesi. It also played a leading role in the Dominican Republic’s $3.564 billion transaction in February, winner of the award for Sovereign Liability Management of the Year.
2023 promises to bring similar challenges for bond issuers, although Miguens reckons the market for bonds will be better than 2022, which in his estimation was the worst for bonds in 25 years.
However, issuers are likely to have to offer higher yields than before to place their deals. “With interest rates hovering around 5% in the US, yields in LatAm will have to go north of that, between 6-10%,” says Miguens. “Interest costs will be very high in 2023, as that situation will remain for quite some time, as inflation will remain high, albeit lower than in 2022.” LF