UBS equity capital markets may reign again

The firm has been No. 1 in equity capital markets transactions since 2005.

By Christmas, the UBS equity capital markets team may have safely seen off challengers to remain the number one manager of Australian and New Zealand share sales for the ninth consecutive year.

Simon Cox, head of syndication, and Andrew Stevens, head of origination, are the co-heads of UBS's Australia and New Zealand equity capital markets business and their team is in position to manage about half of the six or seven initial public offerings expected to price by December 25.

Since 2008, when they took up their current roles, Stevens and Cox together have seen off all challengers to ensure the firm’s pre-eminent position in IPO and secondary share sales.

UBS will manage a suite of IPOs across a broad number of sectors, reflecting the fact the market is open to new issuance after the S&P/ASX200 Index’s 20 per cent gain in the last 12 months.

Helping Stevens, a 17-year UBS veteran, and Cox, who has worked at the firm for 20 years, retain their ranking this year is that their investment bank will manage the grand-daddy of Australian IPOs this year: the sale of Nine Entertainment Co.

UBS with Macquarie Group Ltd, Morgan Stanley and Commonwealth Bank this week is next are arranging introductory meetings with a small number of fund managers interested in buying Nine shares.

Other floats involving UBS include the Australian mortgage business of US insurance giant Genworth which has also chosen Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Macquarie and Commonwealth Bank to manage its sale. The $200 million sale of Vocation, an online education company, will be managed jointly by UBS and Macquarie.

Other IPOs this year may include: OzForex, which will be managed by Macquarie and Goldman Sach and the sale of trucking company McAleese Group, whose bankers are Macquarie, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Credit Suisse Group. A couple of real estate investment trusts may also be sold in an IPO.

This year UBS has a 32 per cent market share of all Australian and NZ equity and rights offerings, according to Bloomberg data. To date in 2013 the Zurich-based investment bank has managed 18 share sales in Australia and New Zealand worth $US4.1 billion.

Macquarie, the nearest competitor to UBS, has managed $US2.2 billion of such sales and has a 17 per cent market share, according to Bloomberg.

The last time UBS was not number one was in 2004 when it was pipped by Macquarie, which had a 24.7 per cent market share of Australia and New Zealand equity and rights offerings compared with UBS’ 24.4 per cent market share, according to Bloomberg. That year Macquarie’s business was largely self-generated. It sold a number of its own infrastructure businesses.

Many investment banks including UBS have not disclosed their fees on IPOs and rights and placements this year.

IPO fees are 2.5 per cent for larger transactions of more than $300 million, according to a senior equity capital markets banker. For smaller transactions they are in excess of 4 per cent while rights and placement fees are between 2 per cent and 3 per cent, the banker says.

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