Biggest Nordic bond manager girds for issuance rush through June

The Nordic region’s biggest bond arranger is predicting an intense first half of 2020 as issuers pile in before the political climate turns.
Photo: Philip Davali/Philip Davali, Ekstra Bladet
Photo: Philip Davali/Philip Davali, Ekstra Bladet
By Leo Laikola / BLOOMBERG

With markets facing disruption later this year from a U.S. election and U.K. trade negotiations with the European Union, “We would expect issuers to plan ahead and rather get their funding done in the first half,” said Povl Bak-Jensen, head of syndication at Nordea Markets and Antti Saha, the bank’s head of debt capital markets.

Nordea Bank Abp worked on about EUR 18.1bn of non-government deals from Nordic corporates and financial borrowers in 2019 increasing its share of the market by 1.6 percent from the previous year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Danske Bank  grabbed the second spot with EUR 13.3bn of issues under its belt, followed by SEB AB with EUR 12.8bn of deals arranged, the data shows. Borrowers from the region raised a total of EUR 177.3bn euros of debt last year, which is 9.7 percent more than in 2018. Of the total, about EUR 150bn was credited to 68 managers.

Nordea cited large M&A deals from companies such as Fortum Oyj and Telenor ASA, as well as an active Swedish real estate sector, as factors driving the growth in supply. While 2019 saw Nordic lenders continuing to be caught up in money laundering investigations, deals from the region’s banks were “well-absorbed,” according to Nordea, which expects the market for financial borrowers to remain favorable in 2020.

“Spreads for Nordic financials have tightened compared to peers in the second half of 2019 following earlier widening but remain above the levels seen before the anti money-laundering news,” Bak-Jensen and Saha said. “From that perspective they are still attractive to many investors given strong fundamentals,” the bankers added.

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