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Middle East’s first sovereign green bond sees strong demand

Egypt pulled in orders for nearly five times the $750 million size of the Middle East and North Africa’s first sovereign green bond, as it pushes ahead with antipollution and renewable energy projects.

 

The Arab world’s most populous nation sold the 5-year notes at a yield of 5.25%, well inside an opening target of about 5.75%, after amassing more than $3.7 billion of investor orders. The sale “put Egypt on the map of sustainable financing,” the Finance Ministry said.

 

Among those attracted were a “new investor base from Europe, the U.S., East Asia and the Middle East, as well as asset managers, pension, investment and insurance funds,” the ministry said in a statement. Such “high-quality,” long-term investors “will reduce price volatility.”

 

The bond forms part of Egypt’s strategy to lock in new financing sources and broaden the country’s investor base, steps that could in turn help lower its borrowing costs. It is touting a $1.9 billion portfolio of potential green projects, including clean transportation, renewable energy and sustainable water management.

 

Egypt joins a growing green bond wave with Tuesday’s sale, as global investor interest in cleaner financing surges. The assets of sustainable index mutual funds and exchange-traded funds have doubled to $250 billion in the past three years, according to Morningstar.

 

After a record eurobond sale in May, Egypt is targeting as much as $7 billion in debt sales in the fiscal year that began in July. There are additional plans to offer the country’s first sukuk, or Islamic bonds, in both local and international markets.

 

Citigroup, Credit Agricole, Deutsche Bank and HSBC arranged Tuesday’s sale.

 

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