Credit Suisse, JP Morgan receive highest NZ investment banking fees despite lack of local presence

Credit Suisse, JP Morgan receive highest NZ investment banking fees despite lack of local presence

By Gareth Vaughan

Credit Suisse and JP Morgan, the two firms who have raked in the most investment banking fees for completed takeover deals with New Zealand involvement so far this year, both have billionaire Graeme Hart to thank.

Credit Suisse's Sydney-based team are the Auckland-based Hart's long-term advisers and JP Morgan, which doesn't have an investment banking presence on the ground in New Zealand, advised US firm Graham Packaging which Hart's Reynolds Group Holdings bought for about US$4.5 billion in a leveraged buy-out in June.

According to Thomson Reuters data supplied to interest.co.nz, Credit Suisse has received US$24.5 million in fees so far in 2011 placing the Swiss firm first ahead of second placed JP Morgan with US$18.2 million. In yet another busy deal making year, Hart has also sold more than 17,000 hectares of Carter Holt Harvey Central North Island forestry blocks to a United States led group for an undisclosed sum.

Third was Goldman Sachs with US$17.8 million. Goldman's deals include advising South Canterbury Finance's receiver McGrathNicol on the NZ$154 million sale of Helicopters NZ to Canadian Helicopters and sale of a 79.7% stake in horticultural and primary sector processor Scales Corporation to private equity group Direct Capital for NZ$44 million.

In fourth place is Macquarie Group, which advised Fletcher Building on its NZ$1.2 billion hostile acquisition of Australia's Crane Group, with NZ$12.4 million. Macquarie also advised Charlie's Group on its NZ$129.3 million takeover by Japan's Asahi Group. UBS, which advised Crane, is fifth with US$8.1 million.

Deutsche Bank, whose roles include advising McGrathNicol on the sale of about NZ$100 million worth of commercial loans from South Canterbury Finance subsidiary and specialist plant and equipment lender Face Finance to GE Capital, and about NZ$123 million worth of the failed finance company's "Good Bank" loans to Japan's Nomura, is sixth at US$6.9 million.

Nomura, itself, which advised Asahi on its NZ$1.525 billion acquisition of Independent Liquor from Pacific Equity Partners, Unitas Capital and late founder Michael Erceg's widow Lynette Erceg, was seventh with US$6.5 million. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is eighth with US$5.8 million, Morgan Stanley ninth with US$4.2 million, and Greenhill & Co LLC and Credit Suisse's local affiliate, First NZ Capital, round out the top 10 with US$2 million each.

Greenhill and Morgan Stanley advised Australia's Pacific Equity Partners and ANZ on the NZ$600 million sale of Tegel Foods to Affinity Equity Partners.

Despite the turbulent global financial markets, there are still several major deals in the pipeline with the potential to be wrapped up, or near finalised, by year's end. These include Goldman Sachs and UBS advising Pacific Equity Partners on a sale of biscuit maker Griffin's, Goldman Sachs seeking a buyer for beleaguered insurer AMI and a new home for Guinness Peat Group's 64% stake in Turners & Growers.

There's also an 83.3% stake in Fonterra's biggest supplier Dairy Holdings, which First NZ Capital is trying to sell for South Canterbury Finance's receiver, among others. However, legal action by fellow Dairy Holdings shareholder Colin Armer has put a spoke in the wheels of those plans.

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