Asset-backed/asset-based/covered social bond of the year: CAFFIL

For the third year in a row, after winning in 2021 and 2020, Caisse Française de Financement Local (CAFFIL) won the title of best asset-backed/asset-based/covered social bond, for its €750 million ($822.8 million) healthcare issue to finance public hospitals.

This is the third social bond from CAFFILL, the covered bond subsidiary of the French public development bank SFIL (formerly Société de Financement Local) since it set up its Green Social Bond Framework in 2018. SFIL is the leading lender to public hospitals in France, with a 30% market share.

Last year's award winning bond broke ground in being the first Covid-19 covered social bond issue in the wake of the pandemic, and this latest issue builds on that by providing additional investments to cope with the challenges posed by the pandemic, not just limited to specialised medical equipment, but also including construction and renovation work to limit the risk of contagion, such as separate entrances, elevator systems and air conditioning systems.

The issue saw a strong response from investors, as the order book reached €1.5 billion and was twice oversubscribed, with the participation of 60 different investors. The bond also marks the highest participation of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investors, representing 51% of the allocation, compared with 25% and 33% in the two previous issues.

Deal Highlights

Issuer: SFIL (through CAFFIL subsidiary)
Size: €750 million ($822.8 million)
Maturity: 27 April 2029
Coupon: 0.01%
Use of proceeds: Public hospitals
External review: Sustainalytics
Lead managers: Barclays, BBVA, BNP Paribas, JP Morgan and Société Générale
Credit rating: Moody's (Aaa); S&P Global (AA+); DRBS (AAA)
Other highlights: First sustainable covered bond by a French issuer.