Chinese rating agency Dagong to open first European office in Milan in January

Chinese rating agency Dagong has appointed Mauro Alfonso as general manager of Dagong Europe, as the agency plans to establish its first European outpost in Milan in January 2013.

Alfonso, who was previously general manager for Italy at Fitch Ratings, initially joined the company as head of business development for Europe when Dagong Europe was established in April 2012, in order to drive the international expansion of the company from China to the European market.

Dagong’s European headquarters in Milan will operate through a joint venture with Sino-Italian private equity group Mandarin Capital Partners.

“Not only is Milan a modern city that directs the economy of Italy, but it is also one of the most fascinating cities in Europe. By successfully establishing Dagong Europe in Milan, Dagong Global is expected to play an ever significant role in the international financial market,” the company said.

The European offices will initially have about ten analysts, overseeing France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Within 5 years, Dagond aims at growing the office to 30 analysts, with a turnover target of €9m and a 5-10% market share.

The European rating market is currently dominated by the ‘three sisters’ Standard & Poor’s, Fitch Ratings and Moody’s.

According to an Italian source at one of the agencies, Dagong will have the possibility to establish its European outpost as a trustworthy rating source, despite the very strong competitive advantage of the main players.

Rating actions by smaller agencies such as Egan Jones are currently considered less relevant in investment decisions, but given its size on the Chinese market Dagong will have the chance to establish itself as a relevant source for rating news on European banks and sovereign, the source added.

Dagong is the largest and most normalized credit rating agency in China. It has more than 500 employees and it has set up six regional headquarters and 34 branches.

In 2010, the US Securities and Exchange Commission denied Dagong’s application to become a nationally recognized statistical rating organization in the US.

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