| CALGARY, Alberta
CALGARY, Alberta Oct 18 Laurentian Bank of
Canada, the country's seventh-biggest lender, is setting
up an energy investment banking team in Calgary, Alberta's oil
capital, a bank official said on Tuesday.
Wade Felesky, Head of Energy at Laurentian Bank Securities
said Montreal-based Laurentian Bank had been seeking an
opportunity to open an energy-focused banking arm for years and
the prolonged slump in Canadian oil and gas offered a chance to
jump into the industry at a low point in the cycle.
"We have been in a protracted depressed commodity
environment for longer than we would like and what that has
allowed is the opportunity to get good people and allowed them
(Laurentian) to look at this from a counter-cyclical
standpoint," Felesky said in an interview. "It's the hallmark of
their success historically."
The energy team Laurentian Bank Securities will be a
subsidiary of the parent bank and Felesky expects to hire around
10 people between now and the end of 2017.
Felesky, previously a managing director at Calgary-based GMP
Securities, said the team would focus on junior and mid-sized
oil and gas companies, which have been struggling to secure
capital and credit during the more than two-year crude price
Laurentian Bank Securities will also offer a merger and
acquisition advisory service, a sector that Felesky said he
hoped would pick up further, although he declined to offer any
prediction on the direction of oil prices.
There have been 63 merger and acquisition transactions in
Canada's energy sector so far this year, according to the latest
figures from ATB financial, compared with 90 in all of 2015 and
151 in 2014.
The expansion by Laurentian Bank is likely to be welcomed in
Calgary, which has been hit hard by the global crude slump and
seen tens of thousands of job losses since mid-2014. The bank
already has commercial lending, real estate, infrastructure and
agricultural banking operations in the city.
Unlike its bigger rivals, Laurentian Bank until as recently
as the second quarter had no direct exposure to the oil and gas
industry. Many lenders saw profits crimped in recent quarters as
energy clients struggled to repay loans.
(Editing by G Crosse)