01/23/2013 | by
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Citigroup Inc. was the top equity underwriter for REITs in 2012, according to data from Dealogic, a company that tracks publicly traded REIT deals.

Citigroup was responsible in 2012 for underwriting 45 deals valued at a combined total of 6.52 billion. Citigroup did the underwriting on 23 deals valued at $2.81 billion in 2011.

By more than doubling its underwriting volume in a year’s time, Citigroup grew from the sixth-largest REIT underwriter in 2011 to the largest in 2012, taking the top spot from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. 

Thomas Flexner, global head of real estate for Citigroup, told the Dow Jones Newswire that Citigroup became more aggressive in pursuing REIT underwriting business after the sector survived the harsh economic downturn with few defaults on debt obligations. He said the bank was able to gain new customers by lending to REITs.

Bank of America did 52 deals valued at a total of $6.26 billion. Deutsche Bank was the third-largest underwriter in 2012 with 43 REIT deals valued at a total of $4.15 billion, according to the Dealogic. 

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. also moved up the list to fifth overall in REIT equity deals in 2012 from 11th in 2011. Goldman Sachs underwrote 12 deals totaling $2.9 billion last year.

Morgan Stanley witnessed the largest drop-off in equity deals, down from 22 deals in 2011 valued at a combined $3.32 billion to 17 deals valued at $2.29 billion, according to Dealogic data. 

Dealogic based its rankings on the volume of deals in which the banks were the lead underwriters.