GlobalCapital Asia capital markets awards 2018: Bonds
In part three of our results announcements, we reveal the winning bond deals across a variety of categories. In addition, we also name the Best G3 Bond House, Best Local Currency Bond House, Best High Yield Bond House and the debut winner of the Best House for SRI Financing.
BEST HIGH YIELD CORPORATE BOND
Yingde Gases Group Co’s $500m five non call three year bond
Global co-ordinators: Deutsche Bank Singapore branch and Morgan Stanley
Bookrunner and lead manager: China Citic Bank International
One thing that was starkly apparent during GlobalCapital Asia’s numerous meetings with DCM bankers during the awards process was how challenging 2018 was for high yield borrowers. So much so that, nearly all of the candidates for the Best High Yield Bond award printed their notes at the very end of 2017 or in early 2018, before the market turned sour. Beyond that period, it was rare to see blowout deals with standout execution, with many of the trades either characterised by hefty anchor orders or causing violent swings in the secondary market.
There was, however, one bond that stood out during our awards period: a $500m print in mid-January from China’s Yingde Gases, the winner for this category.
Yingde Gases is a known issuer offshore, but its last dollar bond was sold more than three years ago. Since then the company, China’s largest producer of industrial gases, has faced a turbulent time. It suffered a ratings drop to CCC+ as its reliance on the steel industry as a customer took a toll amid an industry-wide slump.
With its transaction, Yingde Gases had to persuade investors that its credit had potential, and that steel had hit rock bottom. It managed to do both successfully.
It certainly helped that the company had the ratings agencies on its side. Because the new notes would push Yingde Gases’ looming maturities, the ratings firms were willing to consider upgrading the issuer. The notes were rated Caa1/B/B+ as a nod toward the company’s efforts to deal with its refinancing risk. And sure enough after the transaction, Moody’s upgraded the company to B1 from B3, and the notes to B2 from Caa1. In October, Fitch upgraded Yingde Gases and the bonds to BB- from B+.
Given the fluctuations in the steel industry and the issuer’s low rating, the lead banks on the trade had to tread carefully, and find a sweet spot for pricing. It didn’t help that feedback for the deal really ran the gamut, with Asian investors erring towards a wide 8% area, while the US supported a 6% handle, and Europe showed interest somewhere in between.
But Yingde had a trick up its sleeve. While many Chinese issuers opt to focus on the Reg S market only, Yingde Gases decided to once again approach accounts in the US to support its deal. Relying on US anchors paid off, as the company was able to bag $500m at a coupon of 6.25% with an ultra-tight yield of 6.3%. The final order book closed with more than $1.7bn of orders. North American accounts took a 31% allocation, and fund managers 83%.
Had the issuer opted for a Reg S only deal, it could have got the trade done, albeit at a much higher price. As Asian issuers brace themselves for another year of difficult conditions, the necessity of US liquidity may become a theme in 2019. If Yingde Gases plans a return to the bond market, it will be well positioned to tap into that US pool again.
BEST INVESTMENT GRADE CORPORATE BOND
China National Chemical Corp’s $6.4bn-equivalent dual-currency, multi-tranche bond
€1.2bn due 2022, $1bn due 2021, $1.3bn due 2023, $800m due 2025, $1.75bn due 2028 and $100m due 2048
Global co-ordinators, lead managers and bookrunners: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, BNP Paribas, BOC International, China Citic Bank International, Commerzbank, Crédit Agricole, Credit Suisse, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, Industrial Bank Co Hong Kong branch, Morgan Stanley, MUFG, Natixis, Rabobank, Santander, Société Générale and UniCredit
It is not hyperbole to say that China National Chemical Corp’s deal was a milestone for the Asian bond market. The largest Reg S transaction from a Chinese corporation, ChemChina’s deal demonstrated the depth of the Reg S market and how the investor base has matured over the years.
Tapping into six different tenors ranging from three to 30 years in US dollars, ChemChina also added a long four year euro tranche into the mix with two benefits — it helped create price tension on the dollar side, and also made the deep pockets of European real money accounts available to the issuer for the first time. The roughly 35% allocation of the dollar bonds to Europe is a rarity for Chinese deals.
ChemChina had a clear objective in mind from the beginning — to maximise the deal size. But to raise the equivalent of $6.4bn in one go was a result no one had foreseen, including the lead banks.
The borrower was also pragmatic around the execution. Instead of squeezing every last penny out of investors, ChemChina showed its sophistication as an issuer by focusing on building its long-term relationships with accounts — to ensure it finds strong support for its next outing to the debt market. The bonds also traded well in the aftermarket.
There were many moving parts to this transaction. The larger-than-expected deal size helped release the pressure on a chunky $5.5bn syndicated loan ChemChina announced at the start of the year — a deal that took the gong of the Best Investment Grade Syndicated Loan of 2018. Not only that, the price on the bond was tighter than the syndication, a rarity given bonds typically tend to price wider than loans.
Some may criticise the deal because of the bloated, top-heavy syndicate group, but had it not played out well, having a large syndicate group — all with a global co-ordinator title – could easily turn into a nightmare. Despite the 18-strong bookrunning team, execution was seamless. In addition, the transaction remained a pure market play, with almost 80% of each tranche allocated to fund and asset managers. Over 500 accounts were in the final book for the four short-dated dollar tranches.
Perhaps more importantly, in an age where Chinese and other Asian corporations are increasingly looking to expand their footprint overseas, the deal served as a testimony of the bond market’s ability to provide sizeable financing opportunities for borrowers. ChemChina’s deal was a coming-of-age trade for the debt market and the region.
BEST FINANCIAL BOND
Bank of China London branch’s US dollar green bond and BOC Hong Kong branch’s Hong Kong dollar sustainability bond
$500m due 2021, $500m due 2023 and HK$3bn ($382m) due 2020
Global co-ordinators: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bank of China, Crédit Agricole and HSBC
Bookrunners and lead managers for the US dollar tranches: BNP Paribas Hong Kong branch, Citicorp International and Commerzbank
Bookrunner and lead manager for the HK dollar tranche: Commonwealth Bank of Australia Hong Kong branch
At first glance, Bank of China’s deal may not stand out for its size or choice of tenors, but there is more to the transaction than meets the eye.
When China’s other big four banks were trying to match each other by pricing their three year dollar floating rate bonds at 75bp over three months Libor and their five year at 85bp over, BOC pushed the envelope to bag its transaction at 73bp and 83bp, respectively.
But more important is how BOC helped bring about some critical development to the market. With the dual-currency triple-tranche deal, the issuer printed the first sustainability bond — a HK$3bn 2.85% 2020 — from a Chinese name.
This was nothing short of unparalleled given BOC is already a pioneer in the green bond market. China sold the equivalent of $23bn of green bonds aligned with international standards last year, and $13bn in the first half of 2018, according to Climate Bonds Initiative. But even a 14% yearly increase in volume cannot overshadow the fact that as one of the world’s biggest green bond markets and the second largest economy, China needs to focus not only on financing projects that are environmentally-friendly, but also ones with social impact.
BOC’s trade was crucial for that, with the bank making clear with its issuance that its funding needs and its role as a flag-bearer of Chinese policy overseas are inextricably linked. And as China enters the next phase of socially responsible investment (SRI), BOC’s fundraise is worth rewarding.
The choice of Hong Kong dollars for the sustainability portion, which made it one of the rare public deals in the currency, of course, took political consideration into account as the Hong Kong government looks to step up its game in SRI financing. But it also showed that more Asian local currencies can play a big part in the global SRI theme — complementing dollar, euro and yen issuance.
The combination of the usage of green and sustainability labels in a single transaction also demonstrated the increasing flexibility in Asia’s SRI financing market.
After the deal was priced at the end of May, China Construction Bank followed suit with the first dollar sustainable bond from a Chinese issuer, raising $1bn alongside a €500m green bond. Other traditional green bond issuers, Lotte Property and Development Co and Korea East West Power, also came to the market with transactions with the sustainability label. For being the unrivalled trendsetter, BOC’s deal is our pick for the Best Financial Bond.
BEST LOCAL CURRENCY BOND
The Republic of the Philippines Rmb1.46bn Panda bond due 2021
Lead underwriter and bookrunner: Bank of China
Joint lead underwriter: Standard Chartered
Other underwriters: Bank of Communications, Bank of Ningbo, China Merchants Bank, China Minsheng Bank, Citic Securities, Deutsche Bank (China), First Capital Securities, Industrial Bank, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank and Shenwan Hongyuan Securities
One of the most sophisticated sovereign issuers in Asia, the Philippines became the first from the ASEAN region to print an onshore renminbi bond. This was, without a doubt, a milestone for renminbi internationalisation, and also paved the way for corporations and financial institutions from the country and the region to access the onshore China market for financing.
The Panda bond ticked a number of boxes that make it the winning deal for this category.
For one, renminbi investors welcomed the diversification. The Rmb1.46bn deal had the largest order book for a Panda bond to date, oversubscribed by six times. The overwhelming demand helped the Philippines price the bond at 5%, the tightest among comparable sovereign issuers.
In addition, the transaction, sold through Bond Connect, was in hot demand from both Chinese as well as foreign accounts. The fact that international investors bought 88% of the notes — unprecedented in China’s interbank market — was a significant moment for Bond Connect since its launch in July 2017.
None of these achievements came easily. The bond was sold at a time when global geopolitical tensions, economic uncertainties and market volatility were at their peak, leading to a relatively conservative price guidance of 5%-5.6%. But the strength of demand from international buyers in particular pushed the book to Rmb10bn, allowing the issuer to price its debut Panda at the tight end of the range.
For the Philippines, diversification into another funding source was key as the southeast Asian country looks to accelerate the development of infrastructure projects. Part of the Belt and Road Initiative, the Philippines is also embarking on its own infrastructure programme, with plans to spend $150bn on the construction of airports, roads and other mass transit systems over the next five years. Thanks to this fundraise, the sovereign and other private sector issuers now have a new investor base to turn to, should they be in need.
With other sovereigns such as the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and Belarus also looking at issuing Panda bonds, the Philippines’ success story in the currency is worth recognising.
BEST SSA BOND
The Independent State of Papua New Guinea’s $500m debut bond
Global co-ordinator: Credit Suisse
Bookrunner and lead manager: Citi
It was a deal nobody thought would get done, and with good reason. PNG’s inaugural bond was decades in the making. After multiple mandates and roadshows, it seemed like every debt banker in Asia had worked on the sovereign’s potential bond sale at some point in their careers. So when the frontier market nation decided to venture out to the market yet again this year, it was almost a case of the boy who cried wolf. It seemed impossible that a B2/B rated country could successfully pull off a deal in late September, amid a particularly rough emerging market backdrop.
Yet, this time around, failure wasn’t an option and PNG’s eventual feat at pulling off its maiden issuance is worthy of this award.
Kudos needs to go to the sovereign’s smart approach with its fundraising. PNG started its 144A/Reg S transaction by speaking with investors about both a five and 10 year tenor. While Asian investors tended to favour the shorter maturity, PNG found that accounts in the US liked the decade option.
Ultimately, PNG opted to pursue just the longer dated tranche, knowing it could play to the demand from large asset managers in the US with a benchmark sized transaction that would qualify for inclusion in emerging market indices.
It was vindicated with its strategy, as US investors drove the transaction, pushing orders to a peak of $3.8bn during bookbuilding. US accounts ended up with a 56% allocation, while European investors took 27% and Asia just 17%. The majority of the trade, 93%, was allocated to fund managers.
PNG also showed its savvy in other ways. While the hefty book could have easily allowed for a larger transaction, PNG made the prudent choice of keeping its bond at $500m so as not to put pressure on investors. The coupon and yield of 8.375% were also remarkable, considering the state of emerging markets at the time, and the frontier status of PNG itself. Even a banker away from the deal lauded its execution, as well as final completion.
For the banks working on the trade, pitching PNG as an attractive credit was an uphill battle, as many accounts were looking at the issuer for the first time. Like other frontier markets, the country is known for its fragile political situation and domestic instability. There was also an unusual spotlight on it this year, as PNG hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in November.
Needless to say, the pressure was on for the government to prove itself to the world, while also appealing for investments to support its ambitious infrastructure plans. The bookrunners’ pitch of PNG offering diversity, and exposure to a new name in emerging markets, paid off.
While it may be unlikely that PNG will venture into the dollar market again in the near future, the sovereign’s deal is nonetheless monumental. Its success opens up the possibility of future issuance from other PNG borrowers, something that was just a pipe dream before. This victory has created new dynamics for PNG, and helped draw the country into a new stage of economic development.
BEST PROJECT FINANCE DEAL
BEST STRUCTURED FINANCE DEAL
Bayfront Infrastructure Capital’s $458m collateralised loan obligation cash flow securitization
$320.6m Class A notes, $72.6m Class B notes, $19m Class C notes and $45.8m subordinated notes
Global co-ordinators: Citi and Standard Chartered
Bookrunners and lead managers: DBS, HSBC and SMBC
Collateral manager: Clifford Capital
Finding novel ways to finance projects in Asia is vital. The region is striving to update its infrastructure, with as much as an estimated $1.5tr per year needed until 2030, according to the Asian Development Bank. Against that backdrop, deals that further infrastructure and project finance in the region are noteworthy, and this year, Bayfront Infrastructure’s CLO stands out for using a creative structure to funnel cash into the sector.
Bayfront’s transaction, sold in July, was months in the making, having started even before its first non-deal roadshow in February. But this was unsurprising, given the complexities of the trade.
The issuer was a special purpose vehicle incorporated in Singapore, while the CLO manager Clifford Capital is 40.5% indirectly owned by Temasek Holdings. Unlike typical CLOs that may have upwards of 50 underlying loans, Bayfront’s trade was concentrated on just 37 loans across 30 projects. The projects spanned Asia Pacific and the Middle East, with sectors including power, water and transportation.
Having such a small number of loans put greater weight on each, creating a bigger need for thorough due diligence on each underlying asset. As a result, investor education and marketing were lengthy. The ratings process was likewise extensive, as each loan was looked at in depth. In the end, the Class A notes were rated Aaa, Class B was Aa3, Class C was Baa3 and the subordinated notes were unrated.
Complicating things further was the fact that the CLO was new and different for the buy-side. A number of investors did not have a mandate to invest in such a structure. Also, with different return metrics, Bayfront’s deal would be priced differently than typical CLOs.
This led to some investors gravitating toward the Class C notes, creating another hurdle for the bankers and the issuer to educate and steer investors to the other series of bonds as well. While investors could look to the US syndicated CLOs for some comparison, the scale of projects on the Bayfront deal across emerging markets had never been seen before.
But Bayfront managed to navigate all those challenges well during bookbuilding, which went on for more than a week. Of course, questions arose as to why use such a complicated structure in the first place. But for the purpose of project financing, the CLO structure made sense as it allows investors to invest in a portfolio of projects, rather than take on a single project risk.
In turn, that allowed the issuer to tap a more diversified investor base. This product is also more appealing to issuers with greater cash needs and bigger projects than may be suited for a conventional loan. With the success of Bayfront’s inaugural deal, it is likely the market will see more such products, including repeat issuance from the firm itself.
Bayfront’s outing was not the only outstanding project finance and structured finance deal this year. An honourable mention must go to Tropical Landscapes Finance Facility (TLFF) for its foray into sustainability.
TLFF, which is a partnership between UN Environment, World Agroforestry Centre, ADM Capital and BNP Paribas, raised $95m in ASEAN’s first sustainability-labelled bond and the first sustainability project bond in Asia. The multi-tranche issuance, led by BNP Paribas and backed by an amortising loan partially guaranteed by the United States Agency for International Development, will help develop a sustainable rubber plantation, rehabilitate degraded land in Indonesia and eventually provide thousands of fair wage jobs for locals.
All certainly impressive, but for opening a new asset for project financing in Asia, and doing it with a highly sophisticated and complex deal, Bayfront’s CLO deserves recognition.
BEST HIGH YIELD BOND HOUSE
In difficult times, the best performers truly stand out. That was the case in 2018 where Credit Suisse, winner of the Best High Yield Bond House for the second year running, showcased the breadth and depth of its business, leadership on debut transactions and the creative ability to execute deals in tough markets.
The bank was a consistent leader in high yield transactions. Over our award period, it had high yield deal volumes of $2.086bn for Asia ex-Japan G3 currency bonds, or a market share of 5.52%, giving it the third rank on the league tables, according to Dealogic.
The breadth of Credit Suisse’s reach was particularly apparent this year, as the bank led successful transactions from China and India to Cambodia and Papua New Guinea. While being a leader in China is important to any bank’s success in the region, Credit Suisse put emphasis on having a well-rounded business that serves clients across the region.
This was reflected in its roster of clients during the awards period, which included Golden Energy and Resources, and Medco Energi Internasional from Indonesia as well as the likes of the Philippines’ International Container Terminal Services. Credit Suisse’s 14 person DCM and syndicate team also worked as one of the two lead banks on casino company NagaCorp’s $300m debut, the first public bond by a Cambodian issuer. The transaction truly encapsulated the challenges of a real high yield deal, and involved marketing a gaming name to US investors against a difficult backdrop.
Papua New Guinea’s inaugural bond was also a landmark, evident by our choice of the transaction for Best SSA Bond. The deal had been decades in the making, but it took until this September for the transaction to successfully close, boosted by strong interest from fund managers and the US. Credit Suisse’s ability to assist debut issuers as a ratings adviser was essential as it brought these new borrowers to the market.
It has done so while also making money. During the awards period, Credit Suisse ranked third in the Asia ex-Japan DCM revenue league table, earning $59.59m, shows Dealogic. It has maintained its revenue market share at 5.44% versus 5.72% during the same period last year.
Admittedly, Credit Suisse’s high yield franchise is not perfect. The firm is a go-to bank for indebted Chinese property developer Evergrande Group, with deals for the issuer often hanging like a millstone around the bank’s neck. Credit Suisse has worked on two mammoth transactions from Evergrande in the last two years — both of which were responsible for repricing the market. This year’s bond, sold at the end of October, raised eyebrows as the issuer raised $1.8bn, but the company chairman took home a chunky $1bn of the deal.
Still, even with the occasionally questionable transaction, Credit Suisse is “a standard keeper” among banks, as one of its rivals said. Tough markets call for some tough deals, but Credit Suisse’s actions are at least transparent, he points out.
Behind the superior deal execution has been a stable leadership team at the Swiss bank. Derek Armstrong has run the DCM unit for more than a decade, supported by Terence Chia, who has led debt syndicate for Asia Pacific for five years. Michael Lam has been the Greater China DCM head for nearly five years as well.
While 2019 will undoubtedly be difficult for high yield borrowers yet again, Credit Suisse’s consistency and its leadership position in the sector will likely hold it in good stead.
BEST G3 BOND HOUSE
BEST LOCAL CURRENCY BOND HOUSE
No bank has dominated the Asia ex-Japan G3 bookrunner league table for quite as long as HSBC, which has stayed the leader for an impressive nine consecutive years.
During our awards period, the bank once again ruled over primary bond issuance. An indisputable leader in Hong Kong and South Korea, HSBC was also at the forefront of offshore issuance from China, while maintaining its top three position in key jurisdictions including Singapore and Indonesia and staying relevant in markets such as India and Sri Lanka.
But there are reasons beyond just numbers that make HSBC the Best G3 Bond House for 2018. As bankers at the firm say, it’s not about simply getting the mandate. It is also about leading transactions successfully from start to finish, while helping the client meet its objectives.
HSBC has done this remarkably well, while also maintaining deal quality, constantly innovating, challenging market norms, and staying true to its value of giving clients honest, and as much as possible, the right advice — even when it might be unwelcome.
This was more crucial in 2018 than ever as markets were constantly roiled with volatility, making execution windows narrow and rather sporadic. But HSBC remained the bank of choice and was able to win repeat mandates from China’s biggest state-owned enterprises and the region’s largest offshore bond issuers, such as China National Chemical Corp, China Petrochemical Corp and State Grid Corp of China. Not only that, even the most sophisticated South Korean issuers, including the sovereign, entrusted the bank more often than others with their funding plans.
Thanks to that, and combined with its accurate read of market conditions, HSBC managed to maintain a zero pulled deal record in the high yield market during GlobalCapital Asia’s awards period. Tough conditions were never an acceptable excuse for the bank. Instead, it maintained a stellar performance amid a disruptive backdrop, delivering large deals successfully for non-investment grade rated issuers.
It also led more deals than any of its rivals, across complex products such as bank capital, corporate hybrids and liability management.
HSBC’s unparalleled DCM experience was on show when it executed numerous market opening and reopening trades — such as Woori Bank’s Basel III compliant tier two issuance, Shinhan Financial Group’s additional tier one, Temasek Holdings’ 10 year and Agile Group’s tap, Far East Horizon’s subordinated perpetual offering and liability management programmes for ICBC Leasing and Indonesia’s Perusahaan Listrik Negara.
The bank, whose Asia Pacific DCM business is helmed by Sean Henderson and Sean McNelis, was also a pillar for the development of the green, social and sustainable bond market.
It not only executed deals but also acted as a structuring adviser for inaugural transactions such as the Republic of Indonesia’s $1.25bn green sukuk and Swire Properties’ $500m deal, the first green bond offered under the green finance certification of the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency. HSBC was also able to help Asian issuers move beyond just green, running deals such as Bank of China’s Hong Kong dollar sustainable bond, the winner of GlobalCapital Asia’s Best Financial Bond, and Industrial Bank of Korea’s social bond.
In addition, in many cases this year when the market was rocky and the public route proved a no-go, HSBC was able to guide issuers towards private placements — be it in dollars, euros or in the Formosa bond format.
Local currency strength
When it comes to local currency bonds, HSBC was at the forefront of bringing both Asian and global issuers to the regional markets, becoming our winner of the Best Local Currency Bond House award.
During the awards period, the bank acted as a bookrunner for 102 deals in eight different currencies, staying well ahead of its competitors both in terms of volumes and number of deals.
Ranking top of the Hong Kong dollar league table, HSBC also led the way in offshore renminbi, while maintaining a competitive position in Singapore dollars and Indian rupee. It also led more than twice as many cross-border local currency trades as its nearest rival, bringing the likes of ICICI Bank and Commerzbank to the Singapore dollar market for capital, and UOB (Malaysia) and Daimler to diversify into Myanmar kyat.
HSBC continued to leverage on its ability to underwrite deals in both China’s interbank and exchange markets — the latter through its majority-owned joint venture. Its strength there was reflected when it helped bring the first Middle Eastern issuer, the government of the Emirate of Sharjah, to tap China’s onshore renminbi liquidity through a Panda bond.
It was also active in connecting domestic Mainland issuers with international investors under the Bond Connect, making onshore structured products from a wide range of originators — like JD.com, China Construction Bank and Ford Automotive Finance (China) — available to a broader investor base.
For having a commendable local currency franchise, HSBC is once again the winning bank of this award.
BEST HOUSE FOR SRI FINANCING
Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) has been growing in importance, leading GlobalCapital Asia to add an award for Best House for SRI Financing for the first time in 2018. As the Asian SRI market grows from being dominated by just green bonds to spanning a host of broader SRI-focused financing, it is only right to recognise banks that have proven their dedication to SRI across capital markets products and countries. Crédit Agricole best exemplified that during the awards period.
In green, social and sustainable (GSS) bond volume for Asia ex-Japan in G3 currencies, Crédit Agricole ranked fifth among bookrunners with $1.202bn in credit and a 13% market share, according to Dealogic. But it worked on a number of significant deals, including Industrial Bank of Korea’s social bond, China Construction Bank’s dual green and sustainability transaction, the first sustainability bond out of South Korea sold by East West Power, and the first Asian water bond from Korea Water Resources.
Notably, Crédit Agricole was not only a lead bookrunner, but was also one of the most prolific green structuring advisers in the region.
What also sets apart Crédit Agricole is its involvement in leading innovation. One noteworthy deal was a loan for the Formosa 1 offshore wind project. The Taiwanese dollar denominated deal, used to fund the development of the phase two of the project and to refinance phase one corporate debt, was a benchmark for the region as it puts more focus on the use of renewables. The French bank has also made inroads in the nascent green loan market in the region, for example by participating in a loan for New World Development, which converted an old conventional fundraise into a green deal this year.
As a demonstration of its commitment to growing sustainable banking in Asia, Crédit Agricole moved Dominique Duval, its Asia Pacific sustainable banking business head, from Paris to Hong Kong late last year. The strength of Duval’s position is her independence, which bankers at the firm say allows her to work across products and sectors, providing research and feedback that will go so far as to advise the bank to step away from deals that don’t meet its SRI criteria. This approach has been key to the French firm’s leading role in developing the SRI market in the region.
Duval’s team has been active in educating issuers and investors in Asia as well. This year, Crédit Agricole hosted a “sustainable day” in Hong Kong, arranging 90 meetings between 15 issuers and 30 global investors. The bank also regularly provides independent research on related topics, helped by its green bond analyst Erwan Crehalet.
Crédit Agricole’s standards for its SRI transactions are admirable, as it strives to maintain a high bar for the definition of green. The bank isn’t afraid to start conversations with issuers about selling a green bond, for instance, but back away if the transactions’ parameters are not truly green or push for appropriate labels. As a result, investors know that a deal associated with Crédit Agricole will not be greenwashed.
While Crédit Agricole has made its mark in SRI, GlobalCapital Asia would also like to recognise Bank of America Merrill Lynch and HSBC for their efforts.
BAML was the fourth of G3 bookrunners for GSS bonds in Asia ex-Japan during our awards period, with $1.215bn of credit and a 9% market share. The US bank has been a leader in SRI globally, challenging issuers to consider incorporating sustainability in their programmes, and building accessibility for investors. Its internal standards are laudable, as the bank has implemented sustainable business practices and focuses on ESG. In Asia, BAML has made a name for itself in the renewables sector — an area that is becoming increasingly important.
HSBC meanwhile has worked actively on both sustainable bonds and loans, ranking first in terms of market share for Asia ex-Japan G3 GSS bonds. The bank stands out not just for its participation in transactions, which include the likes of the Republic of Indonesia’s inaugural green sukuk, but also for its role as a structuring adviser on a number of them. HSBC also creatively uses both bonds and loans to further its clients’ SRI goals.
Their businesses have undoubtedly been impressive. But for making SRI financing a core part of its DNA, Crédit Agricole takes the award.
[This story was updated on December 13 to reflect the correct league table standings for GSS bonds.]