Asian project finance has had something of a rebirth in 2000 as economic growth has returned to the region creating the need for new infrastructure. But memories are long in the world of project finance and the shut down of the market in 1997-1998 left many banks wary of stepping into the arena again.

Not so Citibank. In 2000, the group showed leadership in Asian project finance, closing a string of deals in a variety of countries using a variety of complex structures to mitigate the risks inherent in Asian project finance. The bank claims to have closed 19 project finance deals in Asia this year, although some of those are more strictly defined as corporate deals. But even so, the commitment to financing the region's new infrastructure is seen in the way the bank has raised nearly $6.5 billion in debt for projects with a combined value of $13.45 billion.

The group has thrived this year through its focus on financial innovation and industry knowledge. It has embraced the trend of local currency funding with debt arranged in Australian Dollars, Malaysian Ringitt, Singapore Dollars and Thai Baht. The bank has arranged project loans and project bonds this year and maintains a leading presence in the financial advisory arena, using a wide variety of risk mitigating structures in the many deals it has closed.

Noteable deals that Citibank has worked on this year include the Ratchaburi Power and the Bowin Power projects in Thailand ? both of which broke new ground in the size and local flavour of the financings. Citibank has also been busy in the Philippines with the closure of the Ilijan Power project for sponsor Kepco ? the first time the Korean power company has done an offshore IPP. It was project advisor and one of the arrangers of the financing for Asia Container Terminals in Hong Kong ? the first major infrastructure project in Hong Kong since the crisis. It has also financed Malaysian satellite systems and water projects as well as telecom deals in Hong Kong and power transactions in Singapore.

The bank is aggressive in its pursuit of mandates but has a strong focus on risk mitigation and financial rectitude when it comes to structuring the deals. It is well placed to take advantage of the region's renewed growth prospects and looks to have a number of ground breaking deals in its pipeline for 2001.

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