NatWest played a leading role in the green and sustainability bond markets in 2020, assisting several debut issuers and playing a key role in attracting a high percentage of environmental, social and governance (ESG)-focused investors.
A notable transaction in 2020 was KfW's €3 billion ($3.6 billion) green bond due September 2028, which was won off the back of extensive investor analysis and highlighting potential improvements in ESG investor coverage.
NatWest has an on-going relationship with KfW and was joint lead manager for their first green bond issuance in 2020. NatWest actively targeted investors that had notable green bond holdings, however, were not active in KfW's bonds. Ultimately, the issue attracted the largest order book for a KfW green bond.
NatWest also acted on two consecutive transactions in the same year for Societe Du Grand Paris this year, a €3 billion green bond due October 2060 and a €1.5 billion green bond due May 2050. Societe Du Grand Paris was also the winner of this year's award for Green bond of the year – supranational, sub-sovereign and agency (SSA)-. In both instances, NatWest was at the forefront of providing the issuer with strong investor coverage and ensuring high ESG allocation across geographies.
One Environmental Finance Bond Awards judge noted that Natwest had "solid performance in terms of contributing towards growth and expansion of green bond markets". Another commented that it had a "good UK and EUR coverage, and a strong syndication team."
Damien Carde, head of SSA Debt Capital Markets at NatWest, said: "NatWest Markets wholeheartedly embrace the ESG agenda and we are delighted to have been able to leverage our strong relationships within the SSA space to make a real impact here, both for our organisation and for our issuers.
These awards reflect our wider commitment and focus on driving the ESG agenda within the SSA space and we are incredibly proud to have been recognised."
In the areas of sustainability, specifically for local authorities and municipalities, Natwest also had an excellent year. Within this, NatWest was lead manager on sustainability bond transactions specifically for Ville de Paris, MuniFin, NRW Bank, Land NRW, BNG and Nederlandse Waterschapsbank, demonstrating the Group's commitment to supporting local authorities and municipalities across Europe.
NatWest built close relationships with investors to facilitate these transactions. The Ville de Paris transaction, for example, followed a private placement executed solely for Ville de Paris earlier in the year. Similarly, Land NRW commended NatWest's understanding of how investors have integrated ESG into their investment process.
NatWest acted as bookrunner on Ville de Paris' €300 million sustainability bond due October 2045. This represented NatWest's second consecutive transaction after a private placement was executed sole for Ville de Paris earlier in the year (€50 million, 20 years), highlighting the connectivity of NatWest's team in sourcing demand from investors for this type of paper.
Caroline Haas, head of sustainable finance institutions and SSAs at NatWest, commented: "We're absolutely thrilled that the Environmental Finance panel has recognised our role in the sustainability bond market in 2020 and our support for local authority and municipality issuers to access the market.
"Regional governments will play an ever-increasing role in the transition to net-zero economies by supporting new infrastructure and trying to ensure communities are not left behind. We're excited to have helped ensure the success of their transactions last year, lead managing their environmentally and socially-focused financing in the Euro-market."