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Ontario wraps up fiscal funding plan with green bond sale

Ontario sold $1.25 billion of green bonds on Thursday, bringing its borrowing for the fiscal year past its planned limit, and is open to pre-borrowing for next year if borrowing costs remain low.

The province tapped its 1.85 per cent bonds due 2027 at 46 basis points over federal government debt, compared to 55 basis and 49.5 basis points in the two previous issuances of the securities, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It garnered more than $1.8 billion of orders, according to National Bank Financial, one of the lead arrangers on the deal.

Ontario, the world’s largest sub-sovereign debt issuer, has now borrowed $52.6 billion of mid- and long-term debt, exceeding its target by about $300 million for the period ending March 31.

“We will, subject to market conditions, continue to pre-borrow for next fiscal year if opportunities arise,” said Scott Blodgett, a spokesman for the province’s ministry of finance. Ontario has sold $8 billion of green bonds since it started that issuance program, making it the “largest issuer of Canadian dollar green bonds,” he said.

A total of 56 investors participated in Thursday’s green bond, with banks and corporate treasuries accounting by 46 per cent, asset managers 33 per cent, official institutions and central banks 9 per cent, pension funds 7 per cent, insurance 5 per cent and retail investors around 1 per cent, according to National Bank Financial.

North American investors accounted for 83 per cent of the demand, due to the increasing number of funds in the region with sustainable investing mandates. Investors with green mandates and/or signatories of the United Nations’ Principles of Responsible Investment and Banking represented over 70 per cent of overall sales, the bank said.

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