Société Générale is hoping to more than triple revenues from financing and capital raising over the next three years as the French bank taps into a boom in trade and investment flows driven largely by burgeoning demand for natural resources.
Asia, ex-Japan, comprises less than 10% of global revenues for the bank’s financing arm, but Jackson Cheung, who heads the bank’s financing operations in the region, says that proportion will only grow.
SocGen aims to close at least 10 big structured finance deals in the coming year worth at least US$3bn, Cheung says – the deals will be in the telecommunications, media and natural resources sectors and would also involve export and asset financing.
“The Asian market is small relative to developed markets now, but the growth prospects are more interesting,” Cheung says, with growth created largely by providing services to importers and exporters experiencing a huge surge in demand for commodities. The bank, which restructured its capital-raising and financing division arm in 2006, completed one such deal in China last year, helping a domestic firm buy oil interests in Africa. It was also financial advisor to the Tangguh liquefied natural gas project in Indonesia, which has a total projected cost of US$6.2bn.
Cheung says the bank’s Asia structured finance team will expand to around 50 full-time professionals by the end of this year, from 40 now. The bank remains keen to buy a strategic stake in a Chinese lender – last year the French bank lost out to US financial group Citigroup in a US$3bn battle to snap up a stake in troubled southern China lender Guangdong Development Bank.