Stanchart hires ex-RBS banker Emmet for top MidEast M&A job

DUBAI (REUTERS) - Standard Chartered has hired Mr Tom Emmet, previously with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), to head its mergers and acquisitions business in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena).

Mr Emmet, one of the most senior investment bankers in the region, was previously head of corporate finance and equity capital markets at RBS. The part-nationalised bank decided a year ago to exit M&A, bowing to pressure from the British government to shut down risky operations.

In his new role, Mr Emmet will report to Mr Andrew Suckling, Stanchart's global head of M&A, and Mr Daniel Azzi, regional head of global markets and co-head of wholesale banking for the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan.

"The Middle East is one of Stanchart's strategic markets and we continue to work closely with our clients to support their increasing M&A ambitions," Mr Suckling said.

Mr Emmet will replace Mr Apoorva Shah, who previously headed the unit and is leaving the bank to pursue other opportunities, the lender said in a statement. Mr Shah joined the British lender from Deutsche Bank in 2010, where he was running M&A for the Mena region.

Mr Emmet advised RBS on some of the largest deals in the region, including the acquisition of a majority stake in Saudi Arabia's Aujan Industries by Coca Cola in 2011.

M&A activity in the region is showing slow signs of revival after the global financial crisis hit investor sentiment and increased valuation disagreements between buyer and seller.

M&A transactions with Middle Eastern targets reached US$20 billion (S$24.7 billion) last year, double the activity seen in 2011, according to Thomson Reuters data. Fees from advising clients totaled US$157.9 million, a 23 per cent increase.

The numbers are still low compared to the boom years of 2005-2007 when banks earned multi-million dollar fees by advising large institutions on outbound deals and by structuring complicated derivative transactions to finance the acquisition.

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