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Finally, solid new issue activity on Bay Street Add to ...

As the new year started, Bay Street bankers and lawyers held their breath. After a dismal second half of 2011, everyone wondered: Could the new issue dry spell continue into 2012?

For much of January, the answer was yes. New equity issues were spotty, and a good chunk of the deals were small, worth $20-million, maybe $25-million.

But in the last week or so there’s been a plethora of big offerings -- most notably, Bank of Nova Scotia’s $1.5-billion equity raise. The fees from that alone will make up for a good chunk of the lost revenue at the end of 2011.

Add in AltaGas Ltd’s $350-million bought deal, NovaGold Resource’s $332-million offering, Detour Gold Corp.’s $241-million deal and Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners $300-million secondary offering, and Bay Street’s got quite the party.

Sadly for the banks, these deals came so late in January that they’ll close in the second fiscal quarter. But at least there are signs of hope for healthy issuance this year.

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