EF BRIEFS: Moody's, S&P, Macquarie, UK SIF, Axa IM, TRIG, EDF, Apple

Channels: Debt, Equity, Green Bonds, Policy, Renewables

Companies: Moody's, San Diego Unified School District, RWE Innogy, EDP Renewables, Macquarie Capital, UK SIF, New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust, Axa IM, TRIG, EDF, Apple

[Updates first story with details of S&P]

Moody's and S&P rates €1bn offshore wind farm bonds

Moody's and Standard & Poor's (S&P) have given their first public ratings of a wind farm, in a move that "sets an important precedent for the emerging asset class".

Moody's assigned a provisional Baa3 rating to approximately €960 million ($1 trillion) of senior, secured project bonds, maturing in 2021 and 2027, expected to be issued by WindMW. S&P gave it a BBB-.

The issuer – a joint venture majority owned by private equity group Blackstone – is a special purpose company that operates the 288MW Meerwind farm in the German Bight.

The proceeds will be used to refinance existing bank loans and pay transaction commissions and expenses.

San Diego Unified School District to issue $100m green bond

San Diego Unified School District is set to issue a $100 million green bond.

Proceeds from the bonds will be used to implement renewable energy, energy and water efficiency improvements, an emissions reduction programme, climate resilience improvements and recycling.

The bond is expected to price in coming weeks.

JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs are lead underwriters for the transaction.

RWE Innogy, EDP Renewables and Macquarie Capital in strategic partnership

RWE Innogy, EDP Renewables and Macquarie Capital have formed a strategic partnership with "a strong commitment to offshore wind in the Netherlands".

The consortium expects to bid for the five 700MW wind farm sites that will go out to auction over the next five years. It will focus initially on the first auction, for Borssele I and II.

Macquarie will also act as financial advisor to the consortium.


UK SIF slams UK Government on fiduciary duty decision

The UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UK SIF) has expressed "extreme disappointment" at news that there will be no legal clarification on the relationship between non-financial indicators and fiduciary duty.

The UK Government's response to a Law Commission's report, which argued that pension scheme trustees must account for all financially material factors including environmental, social and governance issues, said such a recommendation "would not necessarily lead to greater clarity for trustees".

Simon Howard, CEO of UKSIF said: "Trustees ... deserve explicit regulatory support of the kind that would force laggards to catch up to protect member interests. The government says guidance from regulators is enough, that is wrong. The world's governments are gathering in Paris to try to address climate change; if the threat is important enough for that it's important enough to change some regulations."

New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust issues $9.7m green bond

New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust (NJEIT) has issued a $9.7 million green bond.

The bond will be issued in 19 tranches and have maturities ranging between two and 20 years, and coupons of between 3% and 5%.

NJEIT will use the proceeds from the bond in water projects in the state with approximately 91% of the proceeds going towards clean water projects and the remaining 9% earmarked for drinking water projects.

Axa IM's Real Assets buys two Finnish forests

Axa Investment Managers – Real Assets has acquired two forest estates in Finland, covering a total of 1,900 hectares.

The forests, which were bought for €7.7 million ($8.2 million) from forestry firm UPM, bring Axa IM - Real Assets' total forestry assets under management to about €110 million, covering about 20,000 hectares.

UPM will continue to harvest timber and manage the forests "in the most efficient and sustainable way possible", according to Axa IM, which says that, as a carbon-neutral asset class which is largely immune to economic cycles, forestry is a sustainable investment.


TRIG beats equity goal with latest £78m raise

The Renewables Infrastructure Group (TRIG) has surpassed its long-term fundraising goal, issuing a final tranche of shares in a £78 million ($119 million) deal.

The UK-listed fund announced last December that it would undertake a year-long equity programme, through which it would issue up to 250 million shares. Last month it closed the penultimate deal in the programme [link], leaving it with just 16 million shares to issue to hit its target.

However, high demand means it will now sell some 62 million shares via its tap authority, in addition to the remaining 16 million. All shares are priced at £1 each.

Canaccord Genuity and Jefferies acted as joint sponsors and joint bookrunners on the transaction, which is expected to close next week.

EDF buys 177MW wind farm as it increases its focus on Scotland

EDF Energy Renewables has acquired a 177MW onshore wind project in Scotland, for an undisclosed sum.

The company will take on the development and construction of the Dorenell Wind Farm, working with renewables firm Infinergy. The project's capacity could increase to 200MW ahead of grid connection in 2018.

EDF Energy CEO, Vincent de Rivaz, said the firm will focus increasingly on Scottish renewables. Its renewables arm currently has around 700MW of wind projects under construction or operation in the UK.

Apple to promote marine energy in Ireland

Apple has committed €1 million ($1.1 million) to help developers test marine energy technology off the coast of Galway, Ireland.

The technology giant is building a data centre in Galway and hopes it can one day be powered by waves.