A significant number of Australian and New Zealand companies accessed the US capital markets in 2016. We have identified 79 US debt and equity offers that were completed by Australian and New Zealand companies in 2016, with a median amount raised of US$150 million.

The following graph shows the number of debt and equity offers completed by Australian and New Zealand companies in the United States over the past eight years:

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The number of US debt deals fell by 31% in 2016 compared to 2015 and by 43% from the near record number in 2014 as the number of issuers in the USPP market fell from a record 33 in 2014 to 25 in 2015 and 15 in 2016. In contrast, the number of investment grade offers declined slightly from 10 in 2015 to 9 (including 3 SEC-registered debt offers by Westpac) in 2016 and the number of high yield bond issuers remained steady at 3 in 2016.

The equity markets also remained relatively steady in 2016, with the number of:

  • Australian IPOs that included a US tranche in compliance with Rule 144A remaining at 4 in 2016; and
  • secondary equity offers increasing slightly from 39 in 2015 to 40 in 2016 with several issuers funding M&A transactions or mining projects and others bolstering their balance sheets.

In addition to these equity raisings, two Australian companies listed on Nasdaq in 2016: Lonestar Resources listed on Nasdaq following the completion of a re-domiciliation creating a new Delaware parent company and Sundance Energy listed American Depositary Shares on Nasdaq. Baker McKenzie acted as US and Australian counsel to each of these companies.

Other offshore equity markets continue to be important. Based upon transactions that we worked on as International Counsel, more than 140 Australian and New Zealand issuers tapped Asian and European institutional equity investors in 2016.