June 8 (Reuters) - Italian energy utility Enel SpA
raised 3.25 billion euros ($3.96 billion) on Tuesday via a
triple tranche sustainability-linked bond sale, a record amount
in the format the company pioneered two years ago.
Enel's deal will be the biggest sustainability-linked bond
sale to date, dwarfing a 1.85 billion-euro issue outstanding
from drugmaker Novartis AG, according to data from
It reflects the growing popularity of sustainability-linked
bonds, which force issuers to increase coupon payments should
they fail to meet pre-set company-wide targets.
This format is fast emerging from the shadow of green bonds
- debt that specifically funds climate-friendly projects - as
investors seek new opportunities in the environmental, social
and governance (ESG) space.
Enel's latest bond raised 1 billion euros from a six-year
tranche, 1.25 billion euros from a nine-year issue and another 1
billion euros from a 15-year deal, according to a lead manager
memo seen by Reuters. Demand was 10.4 billion euros, it said.
Should Enel's greenhouse gas emissions exceed certain limits
by end-2023, coupons on the six- and nine-year bonds will step
up by 25 basis points each, according to an earlier memo.
There will be an equivalent step-up in the 15-year bond if
an even stricter pre-set target is exceeded by the end of 2030.
Since Enel sold the first bond in this format in 2019, "the
market for sustainability-linked bonds seems to be maturing and
could therefore attract a larger crowd of issuers," said
Shanawaz Bhimji, senior fixed income strategist at ABN AMRO.
"As long as there's a credible story behind the
sustainability (key performance indicators), investors will
scoop up this type of debt."
Refinitiv data shows companies sold $10 billion of
sustainability-linked debt in the first quarter of this year,
surpassing the entire issuance across 2019 and 2020.
Sustainability-linked bonds are considered a useful tool for
supporting traditionally "brown" companies' transition efforts,
and also for smaller companies that cannot identify individual
The bonds are linked to a tender exercise and will replace
conventional bonds as part of Enel's commitment to promote
sustainability-linked issuance in their capital structure, a
lead manager said.
($1 = 0.8212 euro)
(Reporting by Yoruk Bahceli in Amsterdam
Editing by Matthew Lewis)