Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) Equity Capital Markets (ECM) team has assisted its clients to raise approximately $9.4 billion. This represents nearly half of the approximately $20 billion raised on the ASX to date (by deal value) and approximately 30% of the ASX 300 capital raisings (by deal count).
This includes the following deals, with the NAB capital raising being the largest in the Australian market during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- NAB: ~$3.5 billion placement & SPP (issuer)
- Auckland Airport: ~NZ$1.2 billion placement & SPP (issuer – Aus counsel role)
- Lendlease: ~$1.15 billion placement & SPP (lead managers)
- Oil Search: ~$1.08 billion entitlement offer & placement (lead managers)
- Flight Centre: ~$700 million entitlement offer & placement (issuer)
- Incitec Pivot: ~$675 million placement & SPP (issuer)
- Macquarie: ~$400 million capital notes offer (issuer)
- Charter Hall Retail REIT: ~$300 million placement & SPP (issuer)
- oOh!media: ~$167 million entitlement offer & SPP (issuer)
- Credit Corp: ~$150 million placement & SPP (lead manager)
- Megaport: ~$65 million placement & SPP (lead managers)
- Australian Finance Group: ~$60 million entitlement offer & placement (lead manager)
KWM's Head of Public M&A partner David Friedlander noted that: "KWM acted on a large number of capital raisings during the GFC and has drawn on that invaluable experience when working on these COVID-19 era transactions."
Corporate M&A partner Nigel Hunt stated that: "KWM has appreciated the opportunity to work with many of its clients to navigate the impacts of COVID-19 on their business and the broader economy during these extraordinary and challenging times."
This large market share continues KWM's ongoing success in the ECM space. The KWM ECM team worked on both of the largest placements and the largest ever entitlement offer in Australian corporate history. KWM has also advised on a significant number of the greater than $1 billion secondary capital raisings in Australian corporate history.
Corporate M&A partner Diana Nicholson said that deals such as the NAB capital raising drew on the considerable experience and expertise of the firm's ECM team.
"This kind of large-scale raising, during a time of high market volatility and frequent regulatory change, requires a very skilled and dedicated team."
Corporate M&A partner Joseph Muraca agreed, noting that: "KWM's ability to act on a large number of capital raisings during the COVID-19 pandemic is reflective of the bench strength of the ECM team across its Australian offices."
Advising issuers and underwriters on how to navigate a fast-changing regulatory environment has been a key part successful capital raisings, said Corporate M&A partner Will Heath.
"COVID-19 has caused regulators to re-write the rule book for capital raisings. At KWM, we have consistently advocated on behalf of our clients for capital raising rules that are clear and balanced, and which do not hinder the efficient operation of capital markets."
KWM has continued to contribute to ECM regulatory reform and thought leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. Corporate M&A special counsel Amanda Isouard noted that: "With the benefit of our experience on working on emergency capital raisings during the GFC, we reached out to the ASX in mid-March to request the placement capacity uplift and waiver of the 1 for 1 cap and put forward the case for them – so we were more than delighted to see that these changes were implemented by the regulators given their benefit to issuers and underwriters alike."
Mr Friedlander added that: "The temporary capital raising reforms have helped facilitate a flood of capital raisings in the Australian market during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are expecting a further wave of capital raisings to occur ahead of 30 June and around the time of results."