UOB raises $1.5bn in Singapore ESG bond first

Out-Law News | 13 Apr 2021 | 3:05 am | 1 min. read

The United Overseas Bank (UOB) has priced the first sustainability bond offering from Singapore. It is a US dollar-denominated issuance of dual tranche senior notes and subordinated notes that were raised at $1.5 billion with a final orderbook of $2.75bn.

The bond will be issued under the UOB 's $15 billion global medium-term note programme and the expected issue date for the notes is 14 April.

The raised funds will be used to finance or refinance qualified businesses and projects in areas such as green buildings, renewable energy and qualified social assets. The social assets include Covid-19-related temporary bridge loans to small businesses in Singapore to help them to maintain employment and survive from the challenges caused by the pandemic.

Mark Tan of Pinsent Masons MPillay, the Singapore joint law venture between MPillay and Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said: “This particular sustainability bond offering by UOB is a milestone, given that it represents that very first environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) bank capital offering out of Singapore, which is in turn likely to broaden its appeal amongst international investors, particularly investors from western jurisdictions, who tend to be at a more advanced stage of the ESG journey as compared to Asia. The offering also continues and highlights what appears to be a growing trend of ESG bond issues from Asian banks and financial institutions in recent times, and it is likely that we will continue to see more of such issuances going forward from Asian jurisdictions, including Singapore.”

Investors across the Asia-Pacific, Europe and the US participated in the subscribed offering.

BNP Paribas, HSBC, Societe Generale and UOB are joint lead managers of the transaction and Bank of China is co-manager.