Société Géneralé targets Australian buyouts

Société Géneralé has expanded its acquisition and leverage finance business to Australia to boost existing Asia Pacific operations based in Hong Kong.

Société Géneralé Corporate and Investment Banking has hired three bankers in Sydney in a new team for its Asia Pacific acquisition and leverage finance business.

The trio will boost an existing 12-strong team at the bank’s Hong Kong office. Steve Zukerman has joined as director, and will be working in partnership with Marc Frenkenberg in Hong Kong. Zukerman will report to Pierre-Louis Auzel and Thierry Magnan, co-heads for acquisition and leverage finance of Asia Pacific.

Zuckerman joins the French bank from Barclays Capital, where he worked for six years, the last four of which as director and head of global loans for Australia and New Zealand.

Also joining Societe Generale with Zuckerman are James Poulos, as an associate director, and Rodolphe de Tilly, as an analyst. The latter was involved in originating and executing French transactions at Banca Leonardo, a boutique mergers and acquisitions specialist prior to joining Societe Generale.

Poulos worked at ANZ in the Australian bank’s diversified industrials team where he structured a number of local leveraged transactions.

Australia has witnessed a leap in both the number as well as the size of transactions led by financial sponsors in the last 18 months.

Société Géneralé’s expansion will take into battle with rival foreign banks such as Credit Suisse and UBS which have gained a foothold earlier in Australia and New Zealand. Credit Suisse recently promoted John Knox to head its sponsor coverage.