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RBC leads rise in Canadian equity issues despite choppy markets

10/02/2015 | 11:22am US/Eastern
A Royal Bank of Canada logo is seen on Bay Street in the heart of the financial district in Toronto

Royal Bank of Canada led a rise in the value of Canadian equity issues for the first nine months of 2015, overcoming a slowdown in the third quarter due to increased choppiness in equity markets.

Equity financings rose to C$36 billion ($27.23 billion) in the period, compared with C$33.6 million a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters data released on Friday.

BMO Capital Markets was No. 2 in the league table rankings, followed by Bank of Nova Scotia. CIBC World Markets and TD Securities rounded out the top five.

While deal activity is typically weak in the summer months, the usual rebound after Labor Day did not happen as a surge in volatility due to questions about China’s economic growth weighed on new issues going to the market.

“Some of the market turbulence we've seen has slowed down deal activity. So issuers need to be a lot more nimble and timing becomes more important,” said Derek Neldner, head of Canadian investment banking at RBC Capital Markets.

Going forward, “the theme of M&A-driven financing will be a dominant one,” he added.

The biggest deal of the year so far was a C$2.2 billion equity raise by Canadian energy company Emera Inc in the third quarter to help finance its planned acquisition of U.S. electric and gas utility holding company Teco Energy Inc for $6.44 billion. Including the assumption of debt, the M&A deal is valued at $10.4 billion. Advisers for the equity financing included Scotiabank, RBC and JPMorgan Securities Canada.

Market volatility shot up in late August and remains at fairly elevated levels, making it more challenging for investment bankers to price issues.

“With higher volatility, it's riskier for underwriters and issuers to address the market,” said Peter Miller, head of Canadian equity capital markets at BMO Capital Markets, which claimed the top spot for advice on initial public offerings.

“As long as the volatility persists, it would have a dampening effect on new issue activity.”

With resource offerings falling out of favor due to a slump in commodity prices, investors were searching for investment ideas in other sectors.

The market uncertainty is having an outsized impact on equity issues in the natural resource sectors, said Benoit Lauzé, head of equity capital markets at CIBC.

“This year we're seeing significant focus on non-resource opportunities,” he said.

(Reporting by John Tilak and Euan Rocha; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

By John Tilak and Euan Rocha

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