European M&A isn't going well i 2012. At the start of September it was at its lowest year-to-date level since 2003. M&A bankers in Europe are, predictably, being ushered unceremoniously onto the pavement. However, within the M&A clubhouse, one cohort looks especially impervious to evictions.
And that is: the oil and gas M&A bankers.
Figures from Dealogic show oil and gas M&A was the only large sector to record a year-on-year revenue increase in the first nine months of 2012. Deals were up 11% year-on-year, driven by the $18.2bn bid by the Chinese state-owned offshore oil company CNOOC's bid for Canada-based Nexen.
In an indication of oil bankers' enduring appeal, there has even been some hiring. This week, UBS successfully poached Shaun Treacy, Nomura's global head of natural resources, to join its "all industries group" - despite Nomura opting to retain its natural resources sector team (along with its financial services, industrials and private equity teams).
Meanwhile, Cantor Fitzgerald has stated its intention of building on its existing corporate finance team in the oil and gas market. And HSBC has overhauled its entire energy business this year after hiring Matthew Wallace as global head of energy and resources from Credit Suisse late last year.
If you aspire to get ahead in oil and gas M&A, it may help if you acquire some Asian experience - especially in China. Dealogic says oil and gas is the most targeted sector for inbound Chinese M&A deals this year, with activity up 205% from the previous year-to-date. Shaun Treacy's international experience seems to have been a key factor in UBS's decision to hire him. "Shaun's an athlete," enthuses Matt Hanning, co-head of UBS's investment bank in Asia in the Financial Times today, "– a long-serving resources banker with global connectivity . . . We are focused on cross-border activity and we need to be supplying our clients in Asia with global content.”
If oil and gas M&A is your thing, Financial News has kindly identified the teams you should want to work for in London and the men you should be seeking to impress. They are:
1. RBC Capital Markets' oil and gas team:
Who should you target? Tim Chapman, Jeremy Low and Matthew Coakes.
Impress them by: Mentioning their work for Premier Oil on its $1bn acquisition of 60% of Rockhopper’s Falklands assets. The firm also worked as corporate broker to Nautical Petroleum during its $649m acquisition by Cairn Energy.
2. Goldman Sachs' natural resources and oil and gas team:
Who should you target? Gonzalo Garcia and Alistair Maxwell
Impress them by: Mentioning their work on the sale of Repsol LNG.
3. JPMorgan's oil and gas team:
Who should you target? Ben Monaghan and Jeremy Wilson
Impress them by: Talking about their help with the firesale of BP's Gulf of Mexico Assets after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Their work with Chinese companies and their role helping GDFSuez on its $3.15bn sale of a 30% stake in its oil and gas exploration and production business to China Investment Corporation.
4. Credit Suisse's oil and gas team:
Who should you target? Igor Ukrasin and James Janoskey.
Impress them by: Talking about their work with BP, ConocoPhillips, Total, and TNK BP - the joint venture between BP and partners in Russia.
5. UBS's oil, gas and energy team:
Who should you target? Philip Wolfe and Gerhard Riegler
Impress them by: Talking about their work on EMEA M&A deals such as the Petrogal Brasil joint venture between Galp and Sinopec, and the £1.2bn acquisition of Cove Energy by PTTEP.
6. HSBC's energy and resources team:
Who should you target? Matthew Wallace and William Stevens.
Impress them by: Talking about their work on Chinese firm Sinopec's $1.5bn UK joint venture with Talisman.
7. BMO Capital Markets global energy group:
Who should you target? Shane Fildes
Impress him by: Talking about his work advising the Chinese oil major CNOOC on its $17.9bn acquisition of Canadian oil group Nexen (subject to various political obstacles).
And if you don't want to work in oil and gas M&A?
If you don't want to work in oil and gas M&A - and assuming you have the choice to focus on one sector as opposed to another- Dealogic's year-to-date global figures in the table below suggest mining and retail teams are also having a good year. On the other hand, food and beverage, telecoms and healthcare teams look like they're struggling.