Environmental Finance's Sustainable Debt Awards 2024

Lead manager of the year, green bonds - local authority/municipality and Lead manager of the year, transition bonds: Mizuho Securities

For the second year running, and third time overall, Mizuho Securities has won the Sustainable Debt Award for Lead manager of the year, green bonds – local authority/municipality, and has also added Lead manager of the year, transition bonds to its haul.

In 2023, the Japanese bank reports that it underwrote a total of JPY73.5 billion ($507.7 million) in municipal green bonds, representing 25.8% of the year's total. This was more than double its figure from the previous year of JPY34.8 billion. It also acted as structuring agent in eight deals in 2023, of a total of 15 green bond issuances from Japanese municipalities. It reports it topped the rankings for both number of deals and amount underwritten in Japan.

It's not just the size and amount of municipal green bonds that defined the year for Mizuho but its innovation too as it helped Iwate Prefuncture incorporate blue projects into its framework and launch the first blue bond for a Japanese municipality. This was soon followed by Kawasaki City, which formulated its Green Bond Framework with Mizuho's assistance and was the first Japanese municipality to have a framework aligned with the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) Guidance for Blue Bonds.

"Mizuho Securities has always been at the forefront of trying new challenges in this area. Following issuance of a corporate blue bond for Maruha Nichiro, we have actively supported blue finance in local authorities," said Osamu Morishita, head of sustainability promotion at Mizuho. "As a result, blue finance efforts are expanding in Japan's local authorities which have many ocean-related initiatives."

In the transition bonds space Mizuho again topped the table in terms of amount underwritten in Japan in 2023, which is also the largest market both in terms of amount and number of issues for transition bonds, with JPY80.2 billion in value, representing 34% of the country's transition bond market. Since the inception of the market in Japan, Mizuho reports it has been lead manager on the majority of the 18 issues and acted as structuring agent on almost half of them.

Over the year, Mizuho underwrote JPY41 billion on Japan's largest transition bond of the year, an JPY 80 billion offering from Chugoku Electric Power, whilst also assisting the utilities company to develop a framework with a transition strategy, including a roadmap to carbon neutrality by 2050.

The roadmap consists of expanded use of renewable energy, energy savings, electrification and decarbonisation, and creation of the next-generation electric power network.

"Mizuho has been supporting the very first transition bond deal in each industrial sector so as to accelerate the market momentum and build a firm foundation for greenhouse gas (GHG) intensive industries' decarbonisation towards carbon neutrality in 2050," added Morishita.

Mizuho Securities team. Source: Mizuho Securities