06 March 2020

Dentons advises South Africa's Standard Bank on the issue of US$200 million green bonds

Recently, the world's largest law firm Dentons has advised longstanding client The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited (SBSA) on the issue of US$200 million green bonds due 2030.This transaction, which represents SBSA's inaugural green bond issue, is the largest green bond issued by an African borrower and the first offshore green bond issue from South Africa. The entire issue, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, was subscribed by the International Financial Corporation.

SBSA is the largest bank in South Africa (measured by assets) and is part of the Standard Bank Group (SBG), the largest African financial services group by assets, with a presence in 20 African countries. Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, SBG is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the Namibian Stock Exchange.

Proceeds from the green bond will allow Standard Bank Group’s Sustainable Finance Business Unit to fund regional projects centred on sustainability, such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, water efficiency and green buildings. IFC estimates that projects linked to the green bond have the potential to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 742,000 tonnes per year.

Dentons' London-based Capital Markets partner, David Cohen, who led on the transaction, said, "We are very proud to have worked closely with Standard Bank – one of South Africa's leading financial institutions – on this issue, which marks a milestone in contributing to South Africa's green economy. It demonstrates the continued strength of our debt capital markets offering for African issuers and our ESG advisory credentials."

In addition to David Cohen, associates Moeen Qayum and Niharika Khimji advised on the transaction.

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