Sustainability linked bond ("SLB") investment of EUR 75.5 million in Public Power Corporation S.A. (the "Company" or "PPC"), the Greek state-owned energy utility. The Bank invested EUR 50 million in the first issuance in March 2021, accounting for 8% of the total issuance of EUR 650 million. The Second issuance took place in July 2021 whereby the Bank invested EUR 25.5 million, accounting for 5% of the total issuance of EUR 500 million. Both SLBs will be listed in the Irish Stock Exchange.
The SLBs will comply with the International Capital Markets Association's Sustainability-Linked Bond Principles and this compliance is confirmed by an independent second-party opinion.
The Project is envisaged to entrench and accelerate PPC's ambitious decarbonisation pathway transforming it from a heavily coal dependent to a green and sustainable utility. It is also the first SLB in the Bank's countries of operation and one of the first by any European issuer in the high yield space, which is to have a broader demonstration effect in the region.
The proceeds of the bonds will be used primarily to refinancing of existing indebtedness of the Company.
ETI score: 63
The expected transition impact of the Project is the adoption of a new capital markets instrument that allows PPC to access a new ESG focused investor base (Resilient quality) and that further strengthens the Company's commitment to implement its decarbonisation strategy (Green quality). The first issuance is targeting a reduction in CO2 emissions of 9.2 million tons by 2022 compared to 2019, whereas the second issuance is targeting a reduction in CO2 emissions of 13.2 million tons by 2023 compared to 2019.
PUBLIC POWER CORPORATION SA
Public Power Corporation S.A. is Greece's incumbent power utility, the largest electricity generator and the principal supplier of electricity in the country. It is listed on the Athens Stock Exchange and is rated BB- by Fitch (rating initiation, December 2020) and B+ by S&P (June 2021).
EBRD Finance Summary
Total Project Cost
The Bank supports a transformed utility that was unable to access the debt capital markets since 2014. The Bank also invests in an innovative financing instrument, which is first of its kind in the Bank's countries of operation.
Environmental and Social Summary
Categorised B (2019 ESP). The Sustainability Linked Bond (SLB) will support PPC's ambitious sustainability and decarbonisation strategy, leading to a 57% reduction in corporate CO2 emissions, which translates into a 13.1 million tonnes of CO2 emission reduction per year, from 2023 onwards (with 2019 as baseline). The use of proceeds set out in the framework agreement to be signed with PPC will explicitly exclude thermal and mining assets from receiving EBRD financing in order to meet various EBRD policy requirements and will include a covenant that EBRD's proceeds shall be applied exclusively toward refinancing of existing indebtedness.
SLBs are a new and emerging financial product, with limited presence in the market. This transaction will be the first SLB subscription for the EBRD. The ESD has been working jointly with the Project team and has undertaken an in-house E&S due diligence based on a questionnaire and a virtual meeting with the Company. This confirmed that the SLB is in line with the International Capital Market Association's ("ICMA") principles for SLBs, and that the bond has been verified and rated by Sustainalytics, providing a positive second party opinion. The current ESDD has reviewed the status of compliance with and implementation of the existing ESAP, and the Company's approach to environmental and social governance. The ESDD has also reviewed the SLB sustainability criteria.
The Bank's ESDD relied on the due diligence of the Company undertaken in 2020 as part of VISP PPC Liquidity Response (OpID 51981). This has strengthened the current ESDD process and allowed the Bank to gain a better understanding on how EHS issues are managed. The past ESDD included a review of publicly available documentation, as well as remote meetings with the Company's EHS and CSR team to understand PPC's plans to comply with current and future EU legislation.
The ESDD confirmed that the ESAP agreed last year is being implemented, and that the SLB has additional more stringent criteria for decarbonisation. The Company's plans regarding decommissioning (closure of existing lignite fires power plants) as well as investment in renewable energy is much higher than the size of the SLB. The key challenge for the Company will be associated with compliance with the new BAT Conclusions at the existing power plants, reducing its carbon footprint and increasing the share of renewable energy generation. The Company is making efforts to address this, and has made strong public commitments to implementing a decarbonisation policy, which go beyond the criteria set in the SLB, these commitments serve as the basis for the SLB issuance. This will include the decommissioning of 3.4 GW of lignite assets by 2023 and the remaining 0.6 GW by 2028. The decommissioning and planned investments will significantly reduce air pollution from the Company operations. Overall, based on previous ESDD, it had been concluded that PPC has sufficient Environmental, Health and Safety management systems and capacity to fully implement the Bank's Performance Requirements.
The in-house ESDD has confirmed that the Project is structured to comply with the Bank's PRs. Based on the ESDD, the existing ESAP has been updated with the inclusion of additional KPI's such as reduction of PPC's carbon intensity to below 0.60 tonnes per MWh by the end of 2024.
The Bank will monitor the implementation of this project jointly with the VISP PPC Liquidity Response and continue to engage with the Company.
Technical Cooperation and Grant Financing
Company Contact Information
+30 210 529 2153
Public Power Corporation S.A., 30, Halkokondili str., 104 32 Athens, Greece
PSD last updated
21 Jul 2021
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More information on the EBRD’s practices in this regard is set out in the ESP.
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Independent Project Accountability Mechanism (IPAM)
If efforts to address environmental, social or public disclosure concerns with the Client or the Bank are unsuccessful (e.g. through the Client’s Project-level grievance mechanism or through direct engagement with Bank management), individuals and organisations may seek to address their concerns through the EBRD’s Independent Project Accountability Mechanism (IPAM).
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