PPC preparing sustainability-linked bond issue, Greece’s first

Influenced by the global investment community’s turn towards investments in eco-friendly energy, power utility PPC is preparing to issue a Sustainability-Linked Bond, a new financial tool reflecting this investor trend, within the first half of 2021.

The initiative promises to make PPC the first company in Greece to employ such a financial tool and one of just a few internationally.

The SLB is more elaborate than existing green bonds, linked to specific projects, as it is aligned with the wider sustainability prospects of bond issuers.

PPC, which has yet to set a date for its planned SLB issue, will commit to improving its sustainability performance over a predetermined period through CO2 emission reductions at an increasing rate, as specified in its new business plan.

Companies with lower emission levels represent lower-risk investments for investors, which enables green-oriented enterprises to achieve better borrowing terms.

Even so, PPC will not necessarily achieve any great interest rate improvement through an SLB issue, financing officials have pointed out.

However, looking ahead beyond the issue, a solid performance by the utility’s SLB in secondary-market trading would enable PPC to borrow at a lower cost should it return to capital markets at a future date.

The power utility’s credit rating is BB- while, just a year ago, the company was struggling to remain afloat. Much work still lies ahead before PPC is transformed into the dynamic eco-friendly company described in its new business plan.

TERNA Energy was the country’s first company to issue a green bond with a 60 million-euro issue in 2017 for capital that was utilized in renewable energy and waste management investments. The company made a follow-up move in 2019, raising 150 million euros at 2.6 percent through a green bond issue that was oversubscribed by over four times.

Petroleum group ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum), aiming to reduce its carbon footprint by 2030, is also considering green bonds as a financial tool.

Green bonds, just arrived here, enjoying strong global growth

The overwhelming investor turnout for a climate bond issued by Terna Energy, Greece’s first environmental bond, has turned the domestic market’s attention to this financing tool, introduced to Greece for the first time with this Terna issue but already experiencing rapid growth on an international scale.

Green bonds were introduced as financial tools to support RES projects developed by governments and private-sector enterprises.

Indicative of the emphasis on climate bonds being placed elsewhere, China’s seven major regulatory authorities recently announced a series of common guidelines for the establishment of a “green” financial system, the objective being to transform the country’s economy into an eco-friendly economy.

Climate bonds emerged in 2007 and have since experienced rapid growth. Green bond issues are expected to reach a total of approximately 150 billion dollars this year, up from 81 billion dollars last year and 3 billion dollars in 2012.

The USA stands is the biggest issuer of climate bonds ($29.2bn, based on data until 2016), followed by India ($23.6bn), China ($19.5bn), France ($19.4bn), Germany ($12.5bn), Sweden ($6.1bn), Mexico ($2.6bn), Canada ($2.4bn), Japan ($1.8bn) and Australia ($1.67bn).