30 March 2020
THE INAUGURAL Nordic-Baltic Blue Bond from the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) scooped the use of proceeds innovation award for a green bond, with the judges lauding the specialised water management product design which was "unique" to the NIB.
The NIB – which has issued $4.8 billion in green bonds since its first in 2010, making it the largest Baltic region issuer – is owned by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden.
The five-year bond raised SEK2.0 billion ($221.7 million) to finance selected projects in the Nordic region, including seven upgraded or new wastewater treatment plants and one flood prevention project.
Issuer: Nordic Investment Bank
Date of issue: February 2019
Size: SEK2.0 billion ($221.7 million)
Maturity: February 2024
Use of proceeds: Water management and protection
External review: Cicero
Lead managers: SEB
Credit rating: Moody's (Aaa); S&P Global (AAA)
Other highlights/notable features: First blue bond to be listed on the Nasdaq Nordic Sustainable Debt Market
In its review of the issue, Cicero said the bond has a "clear and robust framework for climate-friendly investments" with clear screens for eligible projects, thorough monitoring, and transparency on projects funded.
NIB head of funding & investor relations Jens Hellerup told Environmental Finance that the bond was a "response to Nordic investors' awareness and concerns about the state of the Baltic Sea ecosystem, which has been affected by climate change and pollution."
Hellerup added the NIB was "really happy" with the response to the bond, which was twice oversubscribed. In the end, 21 investors participated in the issue which was "quite good for this kind of product," he said.
"The feedback we have received globally has also been very positive," Hellerup continued. "The Nordic Baltic Blue Bond has put NIB and the Nordics on the map."
In 2020, Hellerup said the NIB expects to issue another Blue Bond and is "quite confident" investor demand will persist.