Macquarie in European hiring drive
Australian bank Macquarie has continued its ambitious European expansion by hiring 240 staff in the past 12 months, despite a sharp slowdown in revenues.
The bank said in its interim results last week that staff numbers in Europe, Africa and the Middle East had increased 47% to 754 since September 2005, while revenues growth slumped to 3% after soaring 206% between 2004 and 2005.
Since it closed the first infrastructure fund to target Europe in July 2005, Macquarie has faced competition from rival investment banks that have raised funds in a scramble to invest in the sector. Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley have established infrastructure teams or launched funds. A consortium led by Goldman Sachs outbid Macquarie for AB Ports this year, while the Australian bank abandoned a bid for the London Stock Exchange.
The group has risen to prominence in Europe with a string of investments in European infrastructure, utilities and media assets and a big rise in profits. It acted as global co-ordinator and financial adviser on the initial public offering of explosives manufacturer Dyno Nobel and an adviser to Spain’s Grupo Ferrovial on its £10.1bn (€15bn) takeover of UK airports operator BAA. The bank said these two deals made up for an absence of performance fees income from its specialist funds. Income from Europe, Middle East and Africa was A$458m (€274m).
The slowdown in European revenues was offset by strong growth in the US and Asia, which led to a 36% rise in international revenues from A$954m to A$1.3bn.
Total staff numbers in the bank’s operations outside Australia rose from 2,037 to 3,006 after a hiring spree that pushed up employment costs 54% to A$1.8bn. The increase means more than a third of the its staff are located outside Australia.