Environmental Finance's Sustainable Debt Awards 2024

Lead manager of the year, sustainability bonds - corporate; Lead manager of the year, green bonds - corporate; and Lead manager of the year, green bonds - SSA: Citi

For the second year in a row, Citi has won the award for Lead manager of the year, green bonds – corporate, this time adding two additional lead manager awards.

In 2023, Citi was joint book runner on an apportioned value of $6.3 billon of corporate green bond issuance across 51 transactions. This included industrials, real estate, energy and chemicals industries across all regions of the world.

The bank was also structuring agent on seven corporate green financing frameworks over the year. One of those companies, Air Products, subsequently became the first US corporate to issue a green bond with both green and blue hydrogen as eligible use of proceeds. This transaction also won Green bond of the year – corporate (Americas) in this year's Sustainable Debt Awards.

Sanaa MehraAnother highlight for Citi in 2023, again in the chemicals sector, was being a structuring agent on Eastman Chemicals' green financing framework as it looked to build on its commitment of $2 billion investment in three new molecular recycling plants over the next three years.

For green bonds in the supranational, sub-sovereign and agency (SSA) market, Citi is ranked first, according to Dealogic, for the value of issuance as lead manager, with $5.9 billion. This was split across 114 tranches from 24 different issuers.

One deal of note was a $50 million five-year sustainable development bond issued by the World Bank, and structured by Citi, for water purification in schools in Vietnam. As the purifiers will be replacing traditional methods of boiling water with fossil fuels, it is estimated to avoid 1.9 billion tonnes in carbon emissions, and the transaction is linked to carbon credits.

Investors in the bond will receive semi-annual coupon payments linked to the issuance of Verified Carbon Units. The issuance won the Award for innovation – bond structure (sustainability bond) in this year's Sustainable Debt Awards.

Elsewhere, Citi was joint book runner on New Development Bank's (NDB) first USD-denominated green bond under the multilateral development bank's sustainable financing framework - a $1.25 billion offering to finance eligible green projects in Brazil, India, China and South Africa.

"[Citi has] excellent coverage plus an interesting deal for green and blue hydrogen categories," commented one Sustainable Debt Awards judge, while another commended the "well-structured deals and knowledgeable team, skilled at working on new and unique deal structures such as the World Bank Vietnam emission reduction deal, including being the carbon credit off-taker".

Philip BrownFinally, for sustainability bonds, Dealogic ranked Citi second largest book runner for size of corporate sustainability bonds issued in 2023, with $1.3 billion in apportioned deal value.

Off-grid solar energy company Sun King developed its sustainability finance framework with Citi as the sole arranger and sustainability structuring bank. The framework is mapped to both the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) green and social bond principles as the use of proceeds will be used to establish solar-powered home systems, install solar-powered home appliances and distribute smartphones to off-grid or weak-grid communities in multiple African countries. It targets clean, safe and affordable energy in the social category, as well as the green category.

"We continue to leverage our leading global debt capital markets franchise and sustainable finance expertise to help our clients create market-leading frameworks and execute best-in-class sustainable bonds. In our submission we showcase the breadth of expertise Citi can offer across different industries and asset classes," commented Sanaa Mehra, head of EMEA sustainable DCM at Citi.

"Good innovation and support to the [sustainability bonds] market, especially the research leadership, given a challenging home market situation in the US," commented another Sustainable Debt Awards judge. "Combinations of use of proceeds and key performance indicators (KPI)-linked instruments is something we'd like to see more of in the market and the facilitation of these offerings is positive."

"We are deeply honoured to receive three prestigious awards recognising Citi's commitment to advising our clients on sustainability and responsible finance in the debt capital markets," added Philip Brown, managing director of sustainable debt capital markets (DCM) at Citi.