On October 30th, ICBC held a “ring the bell” ceremony in Luxembourg Stock Exchange to celebrate the official listing of its inaugural “Belt and Road” climate bonds successfully issued earlier with a total equivalent of USD 2.15 billion. This issuance of climate bonds has achieved remarkable results in multiple aspects such as structuring, size, pricing, and investor composition, making a milestone transaction as a Chinese issuer in the international capital market. It marks the biggest single tranche in EUR-denominated green bonds by Chinese issuers, with tightened pricing levels.
ICBC is one of the top large listed banks in the world. ICBC is also the largest underwriting bank in green bonds in China. It was introduced that the bonds were issued in three tranches in USD and EUR with tenors of 3 years and 5 years. The use of proceeds will be dedicated to financing and refinancing the four eligible categories initiated by ICBC globally in renewable energy, low carbon and low emission transportation, energy efficiency, and sustainable water and wastewater management. In terms of investor composition, European investors took over 70% in two 3-year tranches in EUR and USD. Not only ESG investors were attracted, but also diversification in sovereign funds, insurance companies and corporate investors.
此次发行创造了五项记录：首先， 9月25日获得的“工商银行绿色债券框架”采用了一流的办法，是首个同时满足国际和国内绿色债券最新标准的框架。第二，这也是中国发行人获得CICERO（挪威奥斯陆国际气候和环境研究中心）第二意见的首个框架，使工商银行成为迄今为止中国收到CICERO “深绿色”属性的唯一中国发行人。第三，此次发行的绿色债券也是首例针对中国金融机构气候债券标准的认证气候债券。第四，在国家推进“一带一路”的政策背景下，该项目具有一定的代表和推动意义，成为首笔以“一带一路”沿线绿色项目为主题的绿色债券。最后，这是单笔发行欧元金额最大的中资绿色债券。
The ICBC’s climate bond issuance sets five market records. Firstly, ICBC Green Bond Framework incepted on September 25th has adopted the best-in-class approach as the first framework aligned with the latest international and domestic green bond standards. Secondly, it is also the first framework for a Chinese issuer to get the second opinion from CICERO (the Center for Climate and Environmental Research, Oslo), making ICBC the only Chinese issuer to date to receive “dark green” shading by CICERO. Thirdly, the green bonds issued are also the first certified climate bonds against the Climate Bonds Standards for Chinese financial institutions. Fourthly, the green bonds issued are also the first green issuance dedicated to green projects following the “Belt and Road Initiative”. Last but not least, the EUR tranche offering is also the largest EUR bond issued by a Chinese bank ever.
KWM acted as the PRC counsel for the arrangers and dealers in the project. KWM’s high-quality and comprehensive legal services and efficiency were well recognized by the issuer, the underwriters and other advisors in the project. The project was led by partner Zhao Xiaohong, and her team including Wang Ningyuan, Chen Pan and Zhu Chong.