Citigroup appoints Louise O’Mara as Irish corporate banking head

Citi expects to do $30 billion worth of debt and equity deals for Irish clients this year

Louise O’Mara Citi’s new head of corporate banking in Ireland with Tony Golden, who is chairman of the division

Louise O’Mara Citi’s new head of corporate banking in Ireland with Tony Golden, who is chairman of the division

 

Citigroup has appointed Louise O’Mara as head of its corporate banking business in Ireland. She moves up from her role as its head of aviation banking in the State, the world’s leading hub for aircraft leasing.

The move, which has been announced internally by the bank, comes amid a broader restructure of Citi’s corporate and investment business in Ireland, where Tony Golden, a prominent figure in Dublin’s International Financial Services Centre, has become chairman of the division.

Mr Golden has been with Citi for 28 years.

Citi is the only international investment bank with a corporate banking presence in Ireland, and has been involved in more than $20 billion (€16.8 billion) of debt and equity deals for Irish clients so far this year.

These include the initial public offerings of Irish-run glass and metal containers maker Ardagh, which raised $300 million ahead of a New York listing in March, and AIB, where the State sold a 28.8 per cent stake to raise €3.4 billion ahead of a flotation in London and Dublin in June.

“I could see the level of deals involving Irish clients being at least $30 billion for the full year,” Ms O’Mara told The Irish Times.

Mergers

This would compare to $25 billion for the whole of 2016, as companies take advantage of ultra-low financing costs to refinance borrowings and engage in mergers and acquisition (M&A) activity. “The pipeline is strong,” she said.

Mr Golden said Citi has a 20 per cent market share of Ireland’s total equity- and debt-issuance market, almost double that of its nearest rival.

Further Irish deals in which the group has been involved in 2017 include senior roles on debt refinancings by Ardagh, and acting as joint lead arranger for $1.25 billion in term loans for Denis O’Brien’s Digicel to allow it repay borrowings that were due by 2020.

Citigroup, which employs about 2,500 people in Dublin, confirmed in July that it intends to expand its operations in Ireland as the US banking giant prepares itself for the fallout from Brexit.

Ms O’Mara, who joined Citi in 2004, set up the bank’s presence in aviation financing in 2011, and has raised more than $50 billion in the capital markets for Irish clients since then, according to the bank.

Global fleet

Aircraft lessors make up a quarter of the company’s client base, as five of the top 10 players in this field are based in Ireland.

“The global fleet is expected to grow by 82 per cent between now and 2034, involving 22,000 aircraft deliveries and $3.5 trillion of required financing,” Ms O’Mara said. “Between 35 and 40 per cent of the financing is going to come from the capital markets.”

While some clients are looking at M&A as the international market for deals remains strong, Ms O’Mara said “on the flip side, the [valuation] multiples are high because the cost of financing is low, creating both challenges and opportunities both for private and public limited companies”.