France issued record of €7 billion ($7.5 billion) in

26.01.2017 By: Agence France Trésor and IPE

The 22-year bonds whose proceeds will be exclusively used for investment in renewable energy projects and initiatives were sold to banks, insurers and other institutional investors at a 1.75 percent interest rate. The bonds will mature in June 2039.

The lead managers for the issue were Barclays, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, Morgan Stanley , Natixis and Societe Generale.

"By becoming the first country to issue a sovereign green benchmark bond, France has confirmed its role as a driving force for the implementation of the goals of the December 2015 Paris Climate Agreement," said Anthony Requin, CEO of Agence France Tresor, which manages French government debt, in a written statement.

On Tuesday evening, President Francois Hollande cheered the higher than expected interest in the bond issue and suggested that other nation's worried about climate change and wanting to wean themselves from fossil fuel follow France's example. Hollande has been a proponent of green treasury bonds since his nation played host to the international conference that ended with the signing of the historic Paris climate agreement in 2015. The agreement is a milestone in the global effort to slow the man-made aspects of climate change by reducing carbon emissions and speeding the adoption of renewable energy.

France is not the first country to issue green treasury bonds, Poland did so earlier, but the French issued far more bonds and with a much longer maturity date. Warsaw issued €750 million in state bonds to finance its transition to renewable energy in December. Luxembourg is among the other countries expected to begin selling green bonds later this year.

Credit Agricole-CIB, which was one of the banks handling placement of the bonds with institutional investors, told Agence France-Presse, the French news service, that the issue was a "historic" event for the green bonds market because of the size and long maturity of the loan. Apart from the size of the offer, another difference between the French and Pole bond offers is that Poland did not identify projects the funding will support. French officials said a provision of the offer requires the state to do so.

In November, the European Commission published a report stating that the green bond market - so far dominated by entities like the World Bank and European Development Back --was valued at about €38.2 billion ($41 billion) in 2015, and suggested the value could double for 2016, once all the numbers are in.

To further its development, the EU is considering developing a common standard to ensure that funds are not raised for projects that have either not been confirmed or do not meet certain green criteria. 

For full report information on the topic and on Agence France Trésor, click here.



France has attracted major institutional backers for its inaugural green bond, launched yesterday, including Dutch and French pension investors. Dutch asset managers APG, PGGM, and MN subscribed for a combined amount of €967m, with French pension funds ERAFP and Ircantec also among those known to have participated in the issuance.

The deal was a €7bn 22-year green bond issued by Agence France Trésor (AFT), the government office managing French sovereign debt. The bond will pay a coupon of 1.75% and was priced at 100.162 for an issue yield of 1.741%.

It was the first green bond to be issued by a euro-zone sovereign. In December last year, Poland became the first European sovereign to issue a green bond, having priced a €750m five-year deal.

For full report information on the topic and on IPE, click here.