SunTrust Robinson Humphrey is looking to China for a business boost.
The investment banking arm of Atlantas SunTrust Banks Inc. said Wednesday that it is co-sponsoring Gateway China 20001, a trade mission between companies in the southeastern United States and China.
It said the program will help the U.S. companies including customers of $100 billion-asset SunTrust Banks pursue partnerships with licensees, distributors, and contract manufacturers in Taipei, Hong Kong, and Shanghai as well as find acquisition candidates there.
Scott Rhodes, director of investment banking at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, a unit of SunTrust Capital Markets Inc., said the investment bank ultimately is seeking business from companies that would need help raising capital or advice on merger or acquisition deals they may land through the mission.
SunTrust, of course, is putting an new spin on an old investment banking marketing trick in opening Chinas doors to U.S. customers that otherwise might not take a crack at the market. Those that have agreed to participate in the trip include SunTrust Robinson Humphrey client Interface Inc., a floor-covering manufacturer.
A participant will be more inclined to choose Robinson Humphrey as its investment banker because SunTrust Robinson Humphrey is a sponsor of the event, Mr. Rhodes said. (Its co-sponsor is United Parcel Service Inc.)
The investment bank said the goal is to get about 20 of the nearly 100 invited companies to participate in the mission, which is scheduled for early November.
SunTrust bought Robinson-Humphrey in July from Citigroup Inc.s Salomon Smith Barney for $11.9 million in cash. Robinson Humphrey brokers focus on emerging growth companies, which tend to be small- and mid-cap firms. The investment banks strategy complements SunTrusts middle-market focus in its corporate banking group.
In an interview this month, R. Charles Shufeldt, SunTrusts corporate and investment banking chief, said the two companies would be able to share resources more effectively and share customers because their target client bases match up so evenly.
Mr. Rhodes said Robinson Humphrey planned to sponsor the mission well before SunTrust bought the investment bank. This is a Robinson Humphrey initiative, he said.
Opportunos Consulting Group, an Atlanta firm that advises on business and investment transactions between U.S. and Asian companies, devised and coordinated Gateway China 2001, the investment bank said.