News: OPEC Fund mobilises US$1 billion for development finance with landmark debut SDG bond
Press Release - The OPEC Fund for International Development, a multilateral development finance institution headquartered in Vienna, Austria, priced its inaugural benchmark bond issue in the capital markets on Wednesday. The bond was priced using its Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) bond framework on which Credit Agricole CIB acted as sole sustainability advisor. Attracting strong demand from investors globally, the 3-year fixed-rate sustainability bond raised US$1 billion, which will be used to finance or refinance key sustainable development projects that are aligned with the OPEC Fund's multi-sectoral development mission and directly contribute to achieving the SDGs.
The bond attracted very broad interest with 52 percent of investors coming from Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), 27 percent from Asia-Pacific (APAC) and 21 percent from North America (NAM). In terms of investor type, central banks & official institutions accounted for 62 percent, banks 19 percent, asset managers 9 percent and insurance/pension funds for 8 percent.
OPEC Fund Director-General Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said today: "The robust demand for our inaugural benchmark is testament to the confidence that investors have in the OPEC Fund and our long-standing development-focused mandate. It also confirms the appetite for sustainable investments globally. At a time when there is an increasing need for development finance, the OPEC Fund is proud to have achieved this milestone. It will allow us to mobilize additional funds in support of our partner countries. The OPEC Fund has a 47-year track-record in delivering successful development outcomes and the additional funds will enable us to further deepen our impact."
The OPEC Fund is financing development projects in low- and middle-income countries in line with its South-South cooperation mandate. The bond proceeds will be allocated according to the specific criteria defined in the SDG Bond Framework focusing on food security, healthcare, infrastructure, education, employment and renewable energy. The Framework is aligned with the Sustainability Bond Guidelines 2021, Green Bond Principles 2021 and Social Bond Principles 2021 published by the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) and has received a positive opinion from the Second Party Opinion Provider Sustainalytics.
The success of the debut benchmark bond was supported by the OPEC Fund's AA+ (Stable) rating from Fitch Ratings and AA (Positive) from S&P Global Ratings, which reflect the Fund's prudent financial risk profile, excellent capitalization, conservative liquidity and risk management, preferred creditor treatment as well as diversified portfolio of purpose related assets.
OPEC Fund Assistant Director-General, Financial Operations, Tarek Sherlala, added: "These increased financial resources will enable us to step up delivery in partner countries and help boost our development impact. The support of global investors will add to our credit strength and move us to a new phase in our delivery of impactful and sustainable development cooperation."
OPEC Fund Head of Funding, Martine Mills Jansen said: "This bond pricing is a major milestone for the OPEC Fund and the culmination of several years of intensive work. The success of our debut bond in the current market environment is a testament to the strength of our credit. We are pleased to join the community of multilateral development banks issuing in the capital markets. This is an important step in the establishment of our borrowing program and we look forward to continuing our engagement with investors going forward."
The lead managers on the bond issue were Citi, Credit Agricole, Goldman Sachs, Nomura and TD Securities.
Ebba Wexler, Managing Director, Head of SSA DCM, Citi said: "This is a stand-out success for the OPEC Fund's debut capital markets transaction. Pricing a US$1 billion debut transaction with over 40 investors in the book is an impressive achievement and the deserved result after an extensive global marketing exercise."
Tanguy Claquin, Global Head of Sustainability of Crédit Agricole CIB said: "The success of this landmark issuance reflects both the credit strength of the OPEC Fund and its commitment to sustainable development. It also marks an outstanding first public benchmark transaction. This is a major step towards establishing the OPEC Fund's long-term presence in international capital markets and the creation of a diversified funding programme that is capable of supporting the Fund's global development mandate. This transaction also highlights the OPEC Fund's meaningful contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals."
Lars Humble, Managing Director, Head of SSA, Goldman Sachs said: "This was a successful inaugural benchmark transaction for the OPEC Fund for International Development and we were thrilled to be involved. The issuer had done a lot of work with potential investors over the course of many months, and it was great to see such a well-diversified, high quality order book on the back of the thorough preparation. The deal size of $1 billion at a final pricing level 5 basis points inside of the tight end of initial price thoughts further highlights the strong confidence from investors in the name and the overall success of the transaction."
Spencer Dove, Managing Director at Nomura, said: "The opportunity to bring a new credit to the market is incredibly rare, especially a supranational with such a track record in sustainable development. Today's success reflects the significant work undertaken by the OPEC Fund team to meet the objectives set out in the Strategic Framework 2030 and transition to being a preeminent MDB in the capital markets. The quality and diversification of the order book is a clear signal of the work undertaken and positive engagement from the global fixed income community."
Laura O'Connor, Managing Director, Origination and Syndication, TD Securities, Dublin, said: "This bond offering will serve as a liquid reference point from which the OPEC Fund can further build its presence in the US$ market. Given the scale of sustainable development financing required globally, debt market access for another multilateral development bank that can catalyse the flow of capital to impactful projects is an important milestone."