Environmental Finance's Bond Awards 2023

Award for innovation - bond structure (green bond): International Finance Corporation and Symbiotics Investments

A $79 million 'blue' bond from Banco Internacional in Ecuador became the first private transaction of its kind in Latin America in November 2022.

Banco Internacional aims to fund sustainable use of oceans and fresh water. The bank provides $214 million in financing to businesses that contribute to the blue economy and the preservation of water resources.

Daniel SchriberThe Quito-based company is a leading financier of fishing in Ecuador, where the industry represents 11% of the country's exports. Several clients of the bank are certified by bodies such as the Marine Stewardship Council and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council.

In a deal structured by International Finance Corporation (IFC), market access platform Symbiotics Investments helped European investors to finance the Ecuadorian bond.

"The difficulty and cost for a mid-size private entity to issue a green bond in Ecuador, and furthermore have it repackaged and listed in a European exchange, should not be underestimated, usually requiring the need of expensive investment bank services," IFC and Symbiotics said in a joint statement.

IFC created a "tailormade" solution "with minimal additional costs or additional documentation requirements".

"Despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Latin America and Caribbean sustainable debt market continued to soar throughout 2020 and 2021 across all main themes," IFC said.

"In two years, green bond issuance in the region more than doubled from about $14 billion in September 2019 to end of 2022 over $30 billion. We are expecting the blue bond and loan market to grow in a very similar trend to green bonds and loans," IFC said.

One judge commended the "innovative use of blended finance, which is critical to growth in investment options in emerging markets". The structure created a template that allows "for easy replication", they said.

Symbiotics said: "We plan to continue contributing to green financial inclusion in the region via green bond issuances to finance a wide range of green assets, either through financial institutions or direct loans to projects or corporates."

Deal highlights:

Issuer: Banco Internacional
Size: $79 million
Maturity: Five Business Days after 22 November 2026
Use of proceeds: Terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity conservation
Coupon: 6-months term Secured Overnight Financing Rate Data (SOFR) + 3.90%
External Reviewer: Sustainalytics (underlying blue bond) / DNV (repack)
Lead Manager: IFC (underlying blue bond) / Symbiotics Investments (repack)
Ratings: Class International Ratings (AAA)