Low’s on a high after fixing double energy deals

David Hellier
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NOT that many bankers have experienced the satisfaction of closing an M&A deal this year, as markets have proved volatile. Yet Jeremy Low of RBC Capital Markets found himself on the advisory side of two completed deals in less than a week recently when he advised Dominion Petroleum on its £118m sale to Ophir Energy just days after leading Premier Oil to its acquisition of Encore Oil.

Low’s involvement in both deals, supported by the bank’s well staffed and very capable energy team, underlines at least two things; one, that RBC Capital Markets is fast becoming a go-to house for energy deals; and two, that the sector is very much alive to deals despite overall depressed market conditions.

Earlier this year RBC also advised on the £2.4bn sale of Northumbrian Water to Li Ka-Shing in what is still the biggest takeover of a UK company in 2011, and its head of equity capital markets Joshua Critchley famously led an innovative £2bn rights issue for Resolution.

But there is still a way to go before RBC threatens the likes of JP Morgan, Goldman and Bank of America Merrill Lynch in UK bids and deals.

RBC still ranks fairly low down in the M&A league tables, though. In the latest Thomson Reuters table RBC comes in at 19, compared to 20th in the previous year.

Meanwhile there is some speculation as to what has happened to one of the bank’s recent recruits, Sarah Spikes, part of RBC’s financials team that helped win it a broking position at Evolution. Spikes, who was paid handsomely to join RBC from Arden Partners, appears to have left the firm less than a year after her appointment, along with several others.

Yesterday’s £5.2bn bid for Danish catering to security group ISS by G4S is a big boost for Deutsche Bank, Greenhill and RBS Hoare Govett who are advising G4S on the deal.

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are advising the vendor, FS Invest, which owns ISS and they have struck a deal that will give it an 11.3 per cent of the equity in the new company.

Estimates suggest the various advisers on the deal and the accompanying £2bn rights issue will net up to around £100m in fees, which is a welcome infusion of funds to the cash-strapped advisory sector.