ADCB prices debut green bond to raise $500m for ESG-linked projects

Transaction was 3.8 times oversubscribed, attracting $1.9bn in orders from local, regional and international investors

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank aims to provide Dh35 billion in green financing by 2030. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), the UAE’s third-largest lender, has priced its debut $500 million green bond that will help it finance projects following environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards.

The five-year bond, which was priced 115 basis points above treasuries, carries a 4.5 per cent coupon rate, ADCB said in a statement on Thursday.

The transaction was 3.8 times oversubscribed, attracting $1.9 billion in orders from local, regional and international investors.

The bond, which will be issued on September 14, follows a global roadshow and reflects confidence in ADCB as well as its approach to managing ESG risks and opportunities, the bank said.

“The successful pricing of the first ADCB green bond is a significant milestone in the bank’s implementation of international best practice in ESG,” said Alaa Eraiqat, ADCB's group chief executive.

“The bank has adopted a green bond framework to provide a long-term platform to support further mobilisation of capital for green projects. We look forward to collaborating with clients and other stakeholders to advance in our shared ambition for a net-zero future.”

Lenders and corporations across the region are increasingly looking to raise financing for ESG and sustainability-linked projects. First Abu Dhabi Bank, along with Dubai’s Majid Al Futtaim Holding, are among the UAE issuers of green financing deals.

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, better known as Taqa, together with Emirates Water and Electricity Company, also raised $700.8m through its first green bond as it diversifies funding sources to include sustainable financing for projects.

Taqa will use proceeds of the deal to refinance existing debt of Sweihan PV Power Company, the entity set up to build, own and operate Noor Abu Dhabi solar power project, it said earlier this year.

Globally, the issuance of green bonds climbed 87 per cent to $532bn in 2021. However, the value of transaction fell more than 34 per cent in the three months to the end of March to $83.8bn, S&P Global Ratings said in a report, citing Climate Bonds Initiative data.

The rating agency expects sustainability-linked bonds to be the fastest-growing subset of ESG bonds. In 2021, $92bn of sustainability-linked bonds were issued, marking a 989 per cent increase over the previous year.

ADCB said it has embedded ESG into its corporate strategy and has aligned its sustainability approach to the UAE’s ambitions for an inclusive, net-zero economy.

It is committed to provide Dh35bn ($9.53bn) in green finance by 2030, reach net zero in its own operations and reduce financed emissions in line with the UAE government’s net-zero ambitions.

The proceeds of the bond issuance will further support financing of a low-carbon economy in line with criteria set out in the framework.

Initiatives eligible for green loans include projects or companies associated with renewable energy, green buildings, sustainable water and wastewater treatment, clean transport, energy efficiency and pollution prevention and control.

In July, ADCB reported a 12 per cent annual increase in second-quarter net profit, largely driven by higher interest rates and higher non-interest income. The bank's net profit for the three months to the end of June climbed to Dh1.57bn.

Updated: September 08, 2022, 2:30 PM