Mayer Brown is one of the few global firms to work on many of the first-of-their-kind green bonds across numerous industries. Since green bonds emerged in 2013, the global market for them has grown exponentially, with global issuance reaching US$155.5 billion in 2017, an increase of over 78 percent from 2016. While working like conventional bonds in terms of credit standards and tradability, green bonds, as their name suggests, are issued specifically for certain types of green projects, most notably renewable energy projects and low carbon buildings.
Historically, Mayer Brown has long been a leading force in project financings around the globe and at the forefront of the financing and refinancing of projects through the global project bond market, including leading innovative “hybrid” or “mixed” financing structures involving both loan and bond components.
Our leadership in the green bond markets is equally notable, as we have been one of the few global law firms to work on many of the first-of-their-kind green bonds for various industries globally. We also understand the nuances in the issuance guidelines of these bonds, particularly in the United States, Europe and China.
- We represented Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) on a $1.2 billion offering of green bonds led by CIBC World Markets Inc. and RBC. This is the first green bond sold by a pension fund globally. This transaction was a record size for a single green bond transaction in Canada according to Bloomberg data. Sold via its CPPIB Capital Inc. unit, the 10-year bonds were sold at a spread of 71 basis points over similar-maturity federal government bonds and offer a 3 percent coupon.
- We represented Citigroup, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley as underwriters in a public offering of $1.75 billion in auto loan-backed notes issued by Toyota Auto Receivables 2014-A Owner Trust. This transaction marks the first-ever green bond in the auto finance market, and the proceeds of the offering will be used to finance new Toyota and Lexus gas-electric hybrid or alternative fuel powertrain vehicles that meet certain green standards. We also represented Citigroup, Bank of America and Credit Agricole Securities as underwriters in a public offering of $1.25 billion of auto loan-backed notes issued by Toyota Auto Receivables 2015-B Owner Trust, the second-ever green bond in the auto finance market. The proceeds of that offering were also used to finance new Toyota and Lexus gas-electric hybrid or alternative fuel power train vehicles that meet certain green standards.
- We represented the investors in connection with the issuance of an investment grade bond of $64.75 million to refinance debt for the 50 MW La Jacinta solar park in Uruguay.
- We represented Morgan Stanley and MUFG as underwriters in a public offering of ¥85 billion 0.372% senior notes due 2024 issued by Starbucks Corporation. This transaction marked the first- ever sustainability bond issued in the domestic Japanese market.
- We represented the noteholders on the private placement of approximately $135.8 million in green bonds, investment-grade rated project bonds issued to partially re-finance the 70 MW Campo Palomas wind energy project in Uruguay. The transaction demonstrates growing international investment in Uruguay’s non-conventional renewable energy market, which now constitutes more than 20 percent of the energy generated in the country. This deal was named “Project Finance Deal of the Year” at GFC Media Group’s Bonds & Loans Latin America Deals of the Year awards in 2017.
- We advised Unicredit Bank AG and other banks on the issuance of a £500 million Green Mortgage Pfandbrief issued by Berlin Hyp AG under its debt issuance program. The Green Mortgage Pfandbrief has a term of seven years and bears interest of 0.125 percent. This is the first issuance of a Green Mortgage Pfandbrief in the German market. The Green Mortgage Pfandbrief complies with the requirements of the German Pfandbrief Act while adhering to the Green Bond Principles, which define a voluntary standard for green bonds.
- We represented the underwriters in a public offering of $500 million 2.45% senior notes due 2026 issued by Starbucks Corporation. This transaction marked the first-ever US corporate sustainability bond, which raises capital for projects with a mix of social and environmental benefits.