27 November 2015

EF BRIEFS: Allianz, Abengoa, Foresight, SEB, Rabobank, EIB

Allianz set to 'phase out' coal in favour of renewables

Allianz will cut its holdings in coal-intensive companies in favour of renewable energy, in a move that is expected to affect €4 billion ($4.24 billion) of investments.

The German insurer will cut investments in companies that derive more than 30% of their revenue from coal mining or generate more than 30% of their energy from coal. The company plans to transition its investments over the next six months.

Allianz joins Norway's Government Pension Fund and Axa who made similar commitments to divest from the most coal-intensive companies this year.

Abengoa begins insolvency proceedings

Spanish renewable energy and engineering group Abengoa has begun insolvency proceedings after repeated failures to find investors willing to buy fresh equity in the company.

The company has asked for court protection from its €8 billion ($8.48 billion) worth of debt, with investors expected to take a significant haircut if the company is to survive.

As well as banks and bondholders, Spain's government has exposure to Abengoa - to the tune of about €415 million – through various state financing bodies.

Foresight launches sterling bioenergy fund in Australia

London-based Foresight Group has launched a £100 million bioenergy fund in Australia.

Australia Bioenergy Fund will invest between £1 million and £50 million in technologies including energy from agricultural waste, anaerobic digestion, sustainably sourced biomass-to-energy projects, landfill gas capture and the production of wood pellets for biofuel.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation – a body set up by the Australian government to mobilise climate finance – has invested £50 million in the fund.

Foresight manages some £200 million of funds on behalf of the UK's Green Investment Bank and the European Investment Bank, which was invested into the UK waste sector.

Nigel Aitchison, partner at Foresight, said he wanted to "implement a similar strategy in Australia, where we see an increasing appetite for investment in renewable energy and waste management market".


SEB pulls out of coal

Swedish bank SEB will follow the lead of Societe Generale, BNP Paribas and others by pulling out of financing new coal power plants, and not entering into new business relations with companies with major operations in the sector.
Plants with carbon capture technology will be considered, SEB added.

"The bank will strengthen its efforts in investments and portfolio management processes," it said, in relation to its environmental commitments.

SEB's first report under the Montreal Carbon Pledge, which requires it to disclose its carbon footprint, will be published next week.

Indian regulator to incentivise green bond issuers to list in India

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) will reportedly release regulations designed to incentivise Indian issuers to list their green bond on India exchanges.

Media reports cited an unnamed source who said "SEBI is working on regulations that will incentivise companies to launch green bonds. We would like these bonds to be listed on the domestic exchanges instead of on overseas exchanges."

The regulations are expected to be announced on the 30 November.

Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank set to issue $18.3m green bond

Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank is set to issue its inaugural $18.3 million green bond.

The municipal bond will be issued in ten tranches with maturities of between three and 11 years.

Proceeds from the bond will be used to finance construction and improvement of its wastewater and drinking water infrastructure.


Rabobank and EIB launch "impact" loans

Rabobank, in partnership with the European Investment Bank (EIB), has launched 'impact' loans for Dutch companies to help them invest in sustainable projects.

Companies will be eligible for the loans of up to €2.5 million, if they have one of 37 ecological or fair trade certifications and meet EIB and Rabobank's normal lending criteria.

The loans will have an interest rate discount of 1.2%, with the first €50 million tranche of the loans targeted at social issues.

Ireland's NTR goes ahead with European wind spin-off

Irish renewables operator NTR has gone ahead with the split in its operations, following its latest financial results, in which it reported profits of more than €70 million ($74 million).

Shareholders voted in favour of a demerger – in which NTR's European wind business would be spun off into a separate company, retaining the name NTR, while its remaining operations would be retitled Altas Plc – in September.

The move went ahead on Wednesday, following the release of the company's financial results for the first half of the 2016 financial year, which showed profits of €72.6 million.

The firm attributed the profit primarily to the sale of wind assets in May, alongside strong foreign exchange gains on a deferred payment on the sale of a US wind farm.