Refinitiv released the Middle East and North Africa investment banking analysis for the first quarter for 2021. According to the report, the Investment banking fees in the Middle East and North Africa reached an estimated US$218 million during the first quarter of 2021, up 5% from last year and a three-year high.
Advisory fees earned from completed M&A transactions generated US$20.4 million, down 74% representing the second-lowest total in the last ten years. Equity capital markets underwriting fees fell by more than half compared to 2020, to US$7 million, the lowest total since 2011. Syndicated lending fees increased 76% to US$109.2 million, a three-year high in fees and the thirdhighest total since our records began in 2000. Bond underwriting fees also experienced an increase with US$81.3 million in fees, a 64% increase from the same period in 2020.
Governments/agencies and financials accounted for 87% of total fees this quarter in MENA with 59% and 28% fees recorded, respectively. HSBC Holdings PLC earned the most investment banking fees in the region during the first quarter of 2021, a total of US$22.7 million or a 10.4% share of the total fee pool.
MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
Announced M&A transactions with any MENA involvement reach US$17.1 billion during the first three months of 2021, a 19% increase in value compared to the same period in 2020 and a record number of deals with 270, the highest start to a quarter. Target M&A increased 55% from last year to US$12.7 billion this quarter, the second-highest on record with only 2019 higher with Saudi Aramco and Saudi Basic Industries Corp deal of US$69.1 billion making up a large proportion. Outbound M&A delivered a positive start to the quarter representing US$3.9 billion in value and already overtaking 2020 full-year volumes. Domestic M&A experienced a 73% increase from last year with US$9.4 billion in deal value.
The largest deal of the quarter in the MENA region was the acquisition of BP PLC-Block 61 based in Oman from Pttep Mena Ltd for US$2.59 billion. Egypt was the most targeted nation with US$3 Billion In M&A activity, closely followed by Oman and Qatar. JP Morgan topped the any MENA M&A involvement financial advisor league table during the first quarter of 2021, advising on US$5.1 billion worth of deals and hold a 30% market share. In second place was Rothschild, while Citi take third spot.
EQUITY CAPITAL MARKETS
MENA equity and equity-related issuance totalled US$267.7 million during the first quarter of 2021, a 67% decline in proceeds from 2020 and the lowest start to the year since 2011. US$124.7 million was raised through follow-on offerings, which equate to 46% of equity issuance in 2021 so far. Only one initial public offering was recorded during the first quarter of 2021 which was Alkhorayef Water & Power Tech’s offering in early March on the Tadawul Stock Exchange, raising US$144 million. Ubhar Capital SAOC took first place in the MENA ECM league table during the first quarter of 2021, with EFG Hermes and Banque Saudi Fransi joint in second place.
DEBT CAPITAL MARKETS
MENA debt issuance totalled US$34.8 billion during the first quarter of 2021, up 61% from the same period in 2020 and the best start to a year since our record began in 1980. 48% of this total came from Investment grade issuance which totalled US$17 billion, the best start to a year since our records began in 1980. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were the most active issuer nations with US$12.3 billion and 7.5 billion in bond proceeds, respectively. Saudi Arabia’s bond sale in January this year of US$4.9 billion was the largest MENA bond sale of the quarter. Standard Chartered took the top spot in the MENA DCM league table during Q1 2021 with US$4.5 billion of related proceeds, or a 13% market share.