Lazard profits rise as bank sees surge in cross-border transactions

Joseph Millis
Lazard yesterday reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit
Investment bank and asset manager Lazard yesterday reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as it earned more fees from advising on M&A deals amid a surge in cross-border transactions.

The volume of cross-border transactions has risen 119 per cent this year to the end of September, passing the $1 trillion (£624bn) mark for the first time since 2007 and accounting for nearly 40 per cent of total deals globally.

European companies looking to buy growth in an anaemic economy and capitalise on cheap financing and ample cash reserves have powered much of the rise in cross-border deals in the quarter.

Lazard, together with STJ and Rothschild Bank, has been prolific in several of London’s initial price offerings (IPOs) this year.

German companies were at the forefront of a slew of large cross-border deals in September, such as the $17bn takeover of US-based Sigma-Aldrich Corp by drugs and chemicals maker Merck and industrial group Siemens’ $7.6bn deal for US oilfield equipment maker Dresser-Rand Group.

“We’ve gained market share globally and in each major region, notably in Europe,” Lazard chief executive Kenneth Jacobs said on a conference call.

CORRECTION: This article originally stated that Lazard, STJ and Rothschild Bank “were criticised for pricing shares too high”. Lazard has not been criticised in this way and the article has been amended to correct this.

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