Environmental Finance's Sustainable Debt Awards 2024

Sustainability-linked bond of the year - other: Liberty Costa Rica

In January 2023, IDB Invest and Liberty Costa Rica announced the international issuance of a sustainability-linked bond (SLB) as part of a $450 million financing package to increase digital access and broadband quality in Costa Rica.

The proceeds will be used to finance the telecommunication company's investments in fibre connections, increased capabilities and speeds of the network, capital expenditures related to 4G/5G infrastructure, as well as the refinancing of certain financial obligations, working capital and general corporate purposes.

The sustainability-linked feature includes two KPIs covering i) Scope 1 and 2 emissions, and ii) Scope 3 emissions. With the bond, Liberty Costa Rica committed to a 30% reduction in absolute emissions. Targets for the KPIs will be reviewed in 2027 and will be SBTi-validated.

Edgar Cabanas, IDB Invest's principal investment officer of digital economy, said: "Through our transformative digital sustainability-linked bond financing, Liberty Costa Rica can help to build digital bridges and narrow the digital gap in our region, while empowering communities and propelling progress into uncharted realms of possibility for Costa Rica."

The deal was financed through a $50 million loan funded by IDB Invest through its balance sheet and a $400 million B Bond (bridge-to-bond structure).

This is the largest B-Bond structured by IDB Invest to date. A B-bond allows IDB Invest to involve institutional investors by selling the bond to a special purpose vehicle and then privately placing the investment to an institutional investor.

It will also provide additional advice to Liberty Costa Rica to establish a roadmap for climate change mitigation actions.

IDB Invest, a member of the IDB Group, is a multilateral development bank committed to promoting the economic development of its member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean through the private sector.

Deal highlights

Issuer: Liberty Costa Rica
Size: $400 million
Maturity: 11 January 2031
Coupon: 10.875%
KPIs: Two KPIs covering i) Scope 1 and 2 absolute emissions, and ii) Scope 3 GHG intensity emissions – related to a 30% reduction in absolute emissions.
External reviewer: Moody's ESG Solutions
Lead managers: Citibank, Bank of America, Scotiabank
Credit rating: 'B+' issuer credit rating to Liberty Costa Rica (S&P Global Ratings) 'B+' issue-level rating on Liberty Costa Rica Senior Secured Finance's proposed $400 million senior secured bond (S&P Global Ratings)