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European banks are disappearing fast as global players in project finance

Not really. They have been reducing their exposure by selling well-identified portfolios or local activities which don't limit their ability to continue the rest of the business (for instance, BNPP sold a large portfolio of "reserve-based assets" in the US, i.e. loans to medium sized oil&gas operators in the US backed by rights to the underlying resource (i.e. the oil reserves). With good geologists (which most banks doing this business have in-house), this is a low risk business, but it's fairly capital-intensive. Selling this is something you can do as a decent price (other banks know these are sound assets, so there is enough competition to ensure the discount is not large), and which frees up quite a lot of capital; at the same time it's specialized enough that getting rid of it does not cut into your other activities.

The league tables for 2011 show the usual suspects at the top, i.e. the Indian banks (big local market), the French, the Japanese, the Spanish and the Dutch banks.

Japanese banks are indeed moving up, but the there ones are not disappearing.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:56:21 PM EST
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