Hong Kong kicks a green goal with $1 billion bond
Debut green bond is part of a wider attempt by the government to encourage the development of green financing in the city.
By Morgan Davis
Hong Kong makes no secret of its ambition to be an important regional centre for green finance – part of its quest to stay relevant through reinvention. So the arrival – at long last – of its first sovereign green bond is an important event in the development of its markets, and bankers hope it will inspire other borrowers from Hong Kong and Greater China to follow suit.
The sovereign deal has been in the works for more than a year, after chief executive Carrie Lam first raised the prospect of a green bond in October 2017. This May, Hong Kong finally priced the $1 billion, five-year bullet at a yield of 2.555%, equivalent to a spread of 32.5 basis points over US Treasuries. That was at the tight end of final price guidance or, as one syndicate head familiar with the deal put it, the pricing looked “very attractive” for the issuer.
The order book was worth more than $4 billion, with orders from more than 100 accounts at reoffer. Asian investors took half of the notes, while 27% went to Europe and 23% went to the US.