Ho Bee Land: Obtained Singapore’s first green loan from HSBC

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Singapore property developer Ho Bee Land said on Thursday that it obtained a 200 million British pound, or around S$352 million, green loan from HSBC, marking the city-state’s first use of the structure.

“Whilst Singapore has seen a string of green bonds and sustainability-linked loans over 2017 and 2018, this deal is the first green loan in Singapore,” it said in a filing to SGX after the market close on Thursday.

While sustainability-linked loans can be used for general corporate purposes, with ties to the broader a company’s performance on environmental as well social and governance issues, green loan proceeds must only fund specific projects with positive environmental benefits, it said.

The first transaction under the green finance framework was a bridging loan from HSBC, as part of the acquisition of Ropemaker Place, which is a 21-storey commercial development in London, it said. The framework was certified by third-party sustainability certifier Sustainalytics, it said.

“The HSBC loan to Ho Bee Land expands the green financing label to debt instruments other than green bonds, and is a significant step to scale the flow of capital to environmentally impactful projects,” Trisha Taneja, product manager for sustainable finance solutions at Sustainalytics, said in the statement.

Additionally, the Singapore government has taken actions in support of sustainable financing, as part of its efforts to have at least 80 percent of the city-state’s buildings go green by 2030, it said. Those measures have included grants to fully offset up to S$100,000 of the costs of external reviews for qualifying issuances, the filing said.

The head of commercial banking for HSBC Singapore, Alan Turner, said the deal was a positive for those efforts.

“The deal is good news for Singapore’s green financing credentials as it sets the template for other corporates seeking similar green transactions in the future,” he said in the statement.

So far, Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority data indicates the city-state has “greened” more than a third of the total gross floor area, or around 3,300 buildings, it said.

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