Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the institution in charge of regulating the Nigerian Capital Market has approved the book build in respect of the proposed green bond, issued by Access Bank Plc.
Following the approval, the book build commenced on Thursday, February 21, and will be concluded in exactly one week, after which the funding of commitment will begin on Friday, March 1.
The Bond, a 5-year Fixed Rate Senior Unsecured Green Bond of up to N15 Billion is the first ever Climate Bonds Standard Certified Corporate Green Bond to be issued in Africa. It has been awarded a B2 rating by Moody’s and verified by PwC (UK) following certification by the Climate Bond Initiative as having met the Climate Bond Standards.
The Bank’s management had in anticipation of the approval, launched the Nigerian Green Bond Market Development Programme in June 2018, in partnership with FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange and the Securities Exchange Commission.
While reacting to the approval, the group managing director, Herbert Wigwe described it as a step in the right direction adding that it lends credence to the process and gives hope of a favorable outcome. According to Wigwe, the final approval of the Green Bond will mean another feat that is commendable and speaks to the vision of being a key player in the country’s finance sector. In his words: "With over a decade’s experience leading Sustainability in the Nigerian financial sector, we believe that the issuance of this bond will create a path to financing Nigeria’s climate change objectives and also unlock the country’s economic growth potential".
He continued, citing the bank’s rich experience in the area of sustainability as a factor that will guarantee its success: "With our pace-setting experience in the mainstreaming of sustainability in our business operations, we are confident that this Issue will further help in supporting environmentally friendly investors to meet their investment objectives whilst simultaneously supporting the Bank’s customer towards realizing growth opportunities in the fast-developing low carbon economy", he said.
The Issue proceeds will be used to finance eligible green projects that meet the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI) standards. The Issue will serve as a turning point for Nigeria, attracting both domestic and international investors and will set the pace for other Nigerian corporates to raise green capital.