If Nordic ECM flurry continues, new jobs look likely

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The number of equity capital market deals being carried out in the Nordic region has almost trebled in the past quarter, compared with the dire state of play a year ago.

According to figures from data provider Dealogic, a total of 37 deals took place in the third quarter of this year, worth more than $3.74bn.

This compared with just 13 deals during the comparable period in 2008, at a value of $1.08bn.

Norway's largest bank, DnB NOR, was among those announcing it was turning to equity capital markets to raise funds in August, raising NKr14bn ($2.4bn) in a guaranteed rights issue to bolster its capital base against rising bad loans.

Swedbank also announced a SEK15bn ($2.1bn) rights issue, while both Nordea and SEB carried out cash-calls earlier in the year.

Denmark's third-largest bank, Sydbank, also recently raised DKK877.5m ($172.5m) through a private placement of stock.

There has been much activity outside the financial services arena, too, according to Thomson Reuters.

Norwegian energy firm Noreco, for example, raised NKr1.2bn ($206m) in a private share placement in September, along with Swedish packaging firm Billerud, which raised SEK978m ($139m) through a rights issue.

Thomson Reuters figures also showed that there had been six Nordic equity or equity-related issues in the course of the past month alone, against just one in the same month last year.

While all this ECM activity has inevitably led to a flurry of moves within equities teams in the region, most notably within SEB's Enskilda equities business, as yet banks are not seeing a huge amount of new hiring within ECM, suggests Erik Nielsen, head of strategy, equity research at Handelsbanken Capital Markets.

"Recruitment is still very much a lagging indicator. Activity will have to continue to rise before employment growth resumes," he predicts.

"At the moment it is pretty much people who are already in the business who are mostly moving around, and there is not much recruitment going on of new people.

"But if economic activity continues then it is quite natural that there is probably going to be some recruitment ahead," he adds.

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