By Anjuli Davies and Sophie Sassard
LONDON, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Swiss bank UBS has appointed former Nomura banker Jean-Philippe Favre as head of utilities for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the bank said in a memo sent to staff on Friday and seen by Reuters.
Favre, who was previously head of natural resources and power for EMEA at Nomura, where he spent the last four years, will begin his new role at UBS on January 13th.
UBS said in the memo that the appointment reflects the bank’s desire to grow market share in the region. The bank later confirmed the contents of the memo to Reuters.
Favre, who has more than 13 years experience in the industry, previously worked at Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley. He will report to Hartop and Stephen Paine, global head of power, utilities and infrastructure.
At Nomura, he worked on transactions including French utility GDF Suez’s acquisition of Britain’s International Power.
Utilities in Europe have been hit by a recession-driven slump in energy demand but divestment programmes at major companies could produce a number of deal opportunities even though M&A has been muted in the sector for the past few years.
Announced M&A in the utilities sector in the EMEA region was down 24 percent in 2013 compared with the year earlier, with 559 deals worth $42 billion, Thomson Reuters data calculates. This compares with $157 billion worth of deals struck in 2007 at the height of the boom years.
Activity in the sector last year included the sale of Finnish Utility Fortum’s power grid in Finland for 2.55 billion euros ($3.46 billion) to a consortium led by First State and Borealis and an aborted 5.3 billion pounds ($8.73 billion)takeover attempt for British water company Severn Trent by a Borealis-led consortium.
UBS ranked sixth in EMEA across all sectors in 2013 in M&A, up from 13th place in 2012, advising on 98 deals worth $203 billion, Thomson Reuters data estimates.