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BPI raises P5.28B from green bond issue

/ 05:30 AM August 31, 2019

Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) has raised an equivalent of about P5.28 billion from a pioneering Swiss franc-denominated green bond issue that gives it two-year interest-free money to help save the planet.

This is the first public Swiss franc-denominated benchmark bond (CHF 100 million) from the Philippines, the first Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) green bond benchmark for BPI and the first rated Philippine green bond in the international market.

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It is also the first negative-yielding bonds to be issued out of the Philippines in the international capital markets.

These bonds carry zero annual coupon and will mature in 2021.

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“It’s mainly for Swiss investors where the yield is negative,” said BPI chief financial officer Maria Theresa Marcial.

Lead managers for the transaction are BPI Capital, Credit Suisse and UBS.

Because Switzerland has a negative interest rate regime, one who invests money in a bond at par value loses money. Cash deposits incur a charge for storage at a bank, rather than receiving interest income. Under such a scenario, banks have no choice but to be generous in their lending activities.

In this case, BPI’s offering is seen attractive because its interest rate is zero and not negative.

“Bondholders of zeroes (zero coupon bonds) do not receive interest payments but instead hope to gain from the change in the price of the bond upon maturity,” said Jose Mari Lacson, head of research at local fund management firm ATR Asset Management.

Net proceeds from the bonds will be used for the financing and/or re-financing of “green” eligible projects such as sustainable water and wastewater management, pollution prevention and control, and green buildings. —DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA

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TAGS: Bank of the Philippine Islands, BPI
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