Lazard (LAZ) Q1 2016 Earnings Call

posted in: Earnings Call, Notes | 0
Lazard (LAZ) CEO Ken Jacobs said the company benefits from an environment where cross-border mergers and acquisitions are prevalent 
 
We’re advising on four of the 10 largest M&A transactions announced in the first quarter of 2016. We continue to advice on four of the 10 largest transactions announced last year, and about half of our announcements in the quarter were cross-border.  Lazard’s market share of the largest global transactions reflect our competitive advantage, which is the breadth and depth of our business, our high concentration to the senior level advisory bankers and our unrivaled global network relationships with key decision makers in business, government and investing institutions. We continue to be active across our advisory practices.”
 
Thinks the M&A environment will get better towards the end of the year
 
Regarding the M&A market environment, volatility in the first quarter was contributed to a general slowdown in new transaction announcements. But we know from experience that M&A cycles never go up in a straight line. The fundamentals for continued activity remain in place. We are in excellent competitive position to maintain a significant share of the large, complex and cross-border transactions that characterize this cycle.  We are advising on a record level of transactions and we expect M&A advisory revenue to be back-end loaded with a higher level of closings during the second half of the year.”
Their corporate restructuring and bankruptcy advisory business for oil & gas companies is picking up steam
 
The restructuring activity really picked up, starting to pick up last summer or last fall with the significant drop in the oil price. It tends to have kind of a soft start, because people, generally speaking, are always kind of reluctant to take the first steps around restructuring until they have a certain view of the longer-term environment. So it takes a little while to kick-in.  I think we are seeing now in the first quarter the beginnings of the revenue ramp-up from this new activity. It feels more like the dotcom bubble than it does, the ’08, ’09 period. The ’08, ’09 period spread across the entire economy, starting with financial sector, but was much broader. The cycle around dotcoms during last decade in 2001, 2002, 2003, was more concentrated in the TMT sector like this cycle is, which is likely to be heavily concentrated in the energy commodity sector. So I think I’d probably look back at that cycle.”
M&A is an opportunity for corporations to reset expectations and drive costs out of the business
“But generally speaking the catalyst behind this cycle is pretty powerful, which is this disinflationary, deflationary trend. And M&A becomes a important tool for boards and companies to have in their toolbox to address difficulties or challenges around organic growth and challenges around driving earnings through additional efficiencies in the business, and that catalyst is an important factor in what’s happened and what’s likely to happen in the M&A markets going forward.”