Sustainability-linked bond of the year: Suzano

Marcelo BacciSuzano's sustainability-linked bond (SLB) was not only the first in the Americas, emerging markets and the pulp and paper sector but was also the first globally to attain a voluntary second party opinion.

The company initially issued $750 million in September last year, which was 8x oversubscribed, and then 2 months later issued a further $500 million, which achieved the lowest yield ever, at 3.1%, for a 10-year bond issued by a Brazilian company. 

The proceeds were used to fund concurrent tender offers to purchase outstanding notes from Suzano subsidiaries due in 2024, 2025 and 2026. The bond is tied to the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 – climate change. Suzano has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 15% by 2030. If by 2025 it is not on track to achieve this target, there will be a one-time coupon step-up of 25 basis points.

"Issuing the first SLB in our sector and in the Americas has been a major milestone for our company," said Marcelo Bacci, CFO and investor relations officer (IFO) of Suzano. "Besides recognition and reputation, we also achieved the lowest rate in the history of Brazilian companies for 10-year bonds. We hope we may inspire and encourage other companies to make similar commitments, creating sustainable and innovative solutions for the various challenges our Society faces, in a constant transformation and renewal process."

That hope for inspiration was recognised by one Environmental Finance Bond Awards judge who added "Suzano's commitment to sustainability and circular economy is an example we need to roll out through other industries". 

Deal highlights

Issuer: Suzano Austria
Size: $750 million & $500 million
Maturity: 15 January 2031, 10 years
Coupon: 3.75%
Use of Proceeds: Fund tender offer
External Review: ISS ESG
Lead Managers: BNP Paribas Securities, BofA Securities, Credit Agricole Securities, J.P. Morgan Securities, Mizuho Securities, Rabo Securities and Scotia Capital.
Credit rating: BBB- / BBB- (S&P / Fitch)
Other highlights/notable features: First sustainability linked bond (SLB) in the Americas, emerging markets and pulp & paper sector