Access Bank mulls first Corporate Green Bond in Africa

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Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma

Lagos – Access Bank Plc has perfected arrangement to issue the first corporate Green Bond in Africa worth N15 billion following approval of its Book Build by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Green bond is a bond specifically earmarked to be used for climate and environmental projects.

These bonds are typically asset-linked and backed by the issuer’s balance sheet, and are also referred to as climate bonds.

Book building is a systematic process of generating, capturing and recording investor demand for shares during an initial public offer, or other securities during their issuance process, in order to support efficient price discovery.

The book build, according to the bank, which commenced on Feb. 21 would be concluded in one week, after which the funding of commitment would begin on March 1.

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News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bond, a five-year Fixed Rate Senior Unsecured Green Bond of up to N15 billion, is the first ever Standard Certified Corporate Green Bond to be issued in Africa.

It has been awarded a B2 rating by Moody’s and verified by PwC (UK) following certification by the Climate Bond Initiative as having met the Climate Bond Standards.

Reacting to the approval, Mr Herbert Wigwe, the bank’s Group Managing Director, described the development as a step in the right direction.

He said it lent credence to the process and gave hope of a favourable outcome.

Wigwe said the approval of the bond was a big feat and spoke to the vision of being a key player in the country’s financial sector.

“With over a decade experience leading to sustainability in the Nigerian financial sector, we believe that the issuance of this bond will create a path to financing Nigeria’s climate change objectives.

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” It will also unlock the country’s economic growth potential,” he said.

The group managing director noted that the bond would be successful due to the bank’s rich experience in the area of sustainability.

‘’With our pace-setting experience in the mainstreaming of sustainability in our business operations, we are confident that this Issue will further help in supporting environmentally friendly investors to meet their investment objectives,” he said.

Wigwe said the bond would support the bank’s customers towards realising growth opportunities in the fast-developing low carbon economy.

According to him, the Issue proceeds would be used to finance eligible green projects that met the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI) standards.

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“The Issue will serve as a turning point for Nigeria, attracting both domestic and international investors and will set the pace for other Nigerian corporates to raise green capital,” he said. (NAN)

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