Boutique Firm Verus Hires HSBC Banker to Set Up in Mideast

  • Verus advised Saudi government when it raised $10 billion loan
  • Banks vying for work in kingdom as it reforms amid low oil

Verus Partners Ltd., the boutique firm that advised Saudi Arabia when it took out $10 billion in loans this year, hired Yusuf Macun from HSBC Holdings Plc to set up its operations in the Middle East.

London-based Verus, founded by former Citigroup Inc. bankers Mark Aplin and Andrew Elliott, appointed Macun as a partner in the United Arab Emirates, the company said in an e-mailed statement late Thursday. Macun was previously head of power and renewables for HSBC in Europe, the Middle East and Africa region. He was also head of commercial and project finance for Abu Dhabi National Energy Co., or TAQA.

Set up in 2011, Verus Partners has helped arrange more than $40 billion in transactions, the company said. In April, it helped the Saudi government secure its first loan in 15 years from banks, according to people with knowledge of the matter. It also advised a unit of Saudi Arabian Mining Co. when it refinanced $3.2 billion of debt in 2014, people said at the time.

Banks are jostling for roles advising the Saudi government on everything from sovereign loans to initial public offerings as the kingdom revamps its economy to reduce its dependence on oil in wake of the decline in prices. The country is considering selling as much as $15 billion of bonds this year in what would be its first foray into international debt markets, people said this week.

Saudi Arabia is also said to have hired HSBC’s Fahad Al Saif to start a debt management office, other people said this week. Al Saif joined the Ministry of Finance on an open-ended secondment from HSBC’s Saudi British Bank, they said.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Michael Klein, the former Citigroup investment banker who runs his own boutique, have been selected to advise on state-owned Saudi Aramco’s IPO, people said in April. Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange, the biggest in the Middle East and Africa, has hired HSBC Saudi Arabia Ltd. as a financial adviser for its IPO, scheduled for 2018.

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