VIENNA- Austria’s leading utility and long-standing pioneer in green finance VERBUND has achieved another milestone in its sustainable finance track record, with its newly launched Green and Sustainability-linked Bond (the “Bond”). The 20-year, senior unsecured Bond was met with high market demand and was placed within the international and national institutional investor base. The €500m bond was oversubscribed several times.
Investors with a focus on sustainability were given much preferential treatment in the allocation process and represented more than 90% of the final order book. The strong demand from green investors allowed setting the coupon at 0.90%, which, considering the long tenor, confirms the confidence investors place in VERBUND.
The Bond combines the feature of environmentally sustainable (“green”) use of proceeds with a coupon step-up linked to company-wide sustainability goals (“sustainability-linked”). VERBUND plans to use the proceeds exclusively for “green” projects that comply with the VERBUND Green Financing Framework. This was developed in alignment with the Green Bond Principles 2018 and the Sustainability-linked Bond Principles 2020 and also aligns with the current draft of the Delegated Acts of the EU Taxonomy, which was published in November 2020. ISS ESG, a leading global sustainability rating agency, has positively assessed the quality of the Green Financing Framework in a second party opinion. Moreover, VERBUND commits to expand both its newly installed renewable energy production capacity in the areas of water, wind and photovoltaics by at least 2,000 MW and the installation of additional transformer capacity (necessary so that the renewable electricity can be fed into the high-voltage grid) by at least 12,000 MVA. If one of the two targets is not achieved by 31 December 2032, the coupon payments on the bond will be increased by 0.25% p.a. for the remainder of the Bond term, as further specified in the terms of the Bond.
Peter F. Kollmann, CFO VERBUND: “After the first Green Bond issued by a company in German-speaking countries in 2014, the world’s first Green and Digital Schuldschein as well as the first 100% ESG-linked Syndicated Loan in 2018, this transaction is a further step that underlines VERBUND’s position as an innovative pioneer in green financing instruments in the capital market.”