UBS to expand India, China property business
UBS plans to hire four more investment bankers for its Asian property business this year as investor appetite for China and India holds up despite economic uncertainty elsewhere, the bank’s real estate head said.
“I can easily think of 15 Chinese real estate companies that could potentially raise money this year,” Mark Ebbinghaus, UBS’ Asian real estate, lodging and leisure head told Reuters on Thursday. “There is speculation that we will see another five to six Indian issuers, although maybe two to three of these will get done,” he said.
The bank, one of the most active arrangers of Asian share issuance, currently has a total of 18 investment bankers, equally divided between Hong Kong and Singapore, who are focused on the property, gaming and the hotels sector. “We are expanding our headcount. This is a serious sector for us and we give it a lot of attention,” Ebbinghaus said.
UBS topped the investment banking league table for Asia-Pacific last year, earning over $700 million in fees, according to Thomson Financial data. But the Swiss bank was also one of the most prominent victims of the subprime crisis with write-downs amounting to some $14 billion.
Last month, UBS sold a stake of around 9 percent to the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation and a smaller stake to investors from the Middle East, believed to be from Saudi Arabia.