Africa’s foremost financial institution, Access Bank Plc has proved itself yet again as the leader in sustainable finance with its issue of a 5-year Fixed Rate Senior Unsecured N15bn Green Bond, which is the first ever Climate Bonds Standard certified Green Bond in Africa. The signing ceremony took place at the Access Bank Head Office in Victoria Island, Lagos on Monday, March 18, 2019.
The Bank’s Green Bond has been awarded an Aa- rating by Agusto & Co, a Pan African Credit Rating Agency, with the underlying framework verified by PwC (UK). The bonds are priced at a coupon of 15.5%, with participation from a wide range of asset managers and pension fund administrators.
In December 2018, Access Bank’s Board of Directors approved the Bond after the launch of the Nigerian Green Bond Market Development Programme in June 2018, in partnership with FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange and the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria. This was in anticipation of the issuance of the Green Bond which saw its offer by way of a book build fully subscribed.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Herbert Wigwe, the Bank’s GMD/CEO said: “With our pace-setting experience in mainstreaming sustainability in our business operations, we are confident that this issue will further help in supporting environmentally friendly investors to meet their investment objectives whilst simultaneously supporting the Bank’s customers towards realising growth opportunities in a fast-developing low carbon economy”.
L-R: Mr. Herbert Wigwe, GMD/CEO, Access Bank Plc and Dr. Ajoritsedere Awosika MFR (Independent Director), Access Bank Plc during the green bond signing ceremony at Access Bank Head Office
With over a decades’ experience in leading Sustainability in the financial sector, the Bank believes that this bond will present a unique opportunity for financing Nigeria’s climate change objectives, delivering on critical infrastructure gaps to unlock economic growth potential.
Proceeds from the green bond will be used to finance green projects that fall within the eligibility bracket of the CBI standards after proper assessment. The projects will be reviewed in line with the Climate Bond Taxonomy which sets out the criteria by which the projects will be deemed eligible under its rules and certification process.
The corporate green bond will serve as a turning point for Nigeria and compel other listed companies and corporate organisations in Nigeria to raise green capital. Green bonds will provide a way for corporate issuers to diversify their capital structures, as well as attract investors from both domestic and international markets.