Societe Generale approved to issue Taiwan dollar green bonds

Taipei, Societe Generale, a French-based banking group, has secured approval from the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) to issue Taiwan dollar-denominated "green bonds" in Taiwan.

The FSC, the top financial regulator in Taiwan, said Societe Generale is expected to issue NT$15.6 billion (US$523 million) in green bonds, making it the first foreign bank to sell Taiwan dollar-denominated green bonds in the country.

The FSC said no details were immediately available about the financial terms of the bond sale by Societe Generale.

Approval came after the FSC eased rules in April to allow branches of foreign banks operating in Taiwan to issue Taiwan dollar-denominated green bonds in the country in a bid to boost investments in local renewable energy development.

The green bond initiative, promoted by the local capital market, aims to show corporate responsibility in terms of environmental protection, with the proceeds funding environmentally friendly projects.

In the past, foreign banks were only allowed to issue foreign currency-denominated green bonds in Taiwan, and the proceeds could be used for eco-friendly investments in the country or overseas.

The FSC said all funds raised by Societe Generale's green bond sale will be invested in related major infrastructure projects in Taiwan -- offshore and onshore wind power development, solar energy development and other renewable energy plans.

French-based Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank and the Export-Import Bank of Korea have sold US$145 million and US$400 million worth of green bonds in Taiwan, respectively.

Since the first four traches of green bonds were listed on the local over-the-counter (OTC) market on the same day in mid-May 2017, a total of 16 tranches worth NT$41.8 billion have been issued by 13 local and foreign enterprises, including the two foreign banks, and traded on the OTC market, the Taipei Exchange (TPEx) said.

The TPEx, which runs the local OTC market, said it is aware that Societe Generale will soon file an application with the exchange for the green bond sale on the OTC market.

Other than Societe Generale, the FSC said no other foreign banks are currently seeking to issue Taiwan dollar-denominated green bonds In Taiwan.

Among the local banks to have sold green bonds on the OTC market are Hua Nan Commercial Bank, E. Sun Commercial Bank, Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank, Taiwan Business Bank, Bank SinoPac, CTBC Bank and KGI Bank, according to the TPEx.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel