OCBC Malaysia, acting as lead coordinator and sustainability & Shariah structuring adviser, signs first-of-its-kind syndicated Islamic sustainability-linked financing of USD800 million with Axiata Group Berhad via web-based platform
OCBC Al-Amin Bank Berhad (“OCBC Al-Amin”) has successfully lead-arranged a first-of-its-kind Syndicated Multi-Currency Shariah-compliant sustainability-linked set of financing facilities of USD800 million (“Syndicated Financing”) for Axiata Group Berhad (“Axiata”), among the leading telecommunications groups in Asia.
This was announced at a signing ceremony between Axiata and OCBC Al-Amin which acted as the Lead Coordinator and Sustainability Structuring & Shariah Adviser, together with the other Mandated Lead Arrangers & Financiers, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited, Labuan Branch; Maybank Islamic Bank Berhad and MUFG Bank (Malaysia) Berhad.
OCBC Al-Amin is the wholly-owned Islamic banking subsidiary of OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Berhad (OCBC Bank).
The signing of the Syndicated Financing marks a monumental milestone for Axiata as it is one of the largest syndicated financing transactions undertaken in the midst of the current unprecedented pandemic crisis. It is also the first sustainability-linked Islamic financing effort undertaken in Malaysia. It is made more significant by the signing ceremony being undertaken via a web-based platform to observe social distancing rules pursuant to the Movement Control Order (“MCO”) put in place by the Malaysian government to break the chain of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The combination of Islamic financing principles coupled with sustainability financing parameters and the multi-currency financing feature of the Syndicated Financing has broken new ground in both the local and international financing markets.
The successful financial close of the Syndicated Financing demonstrates the strong support and confidence of the banking fraternity toward Axiata’s long-term business sustainability and direction, which is one of the most successful government-linked companies backed by its wellestablished regional presence in 11 markets throughout ASEAN and South Asia. The OCBC Group has been one of the main advocates of green and sustainable financing in the region and has been able to leverage on Malaysia’s leading Islamic capabilities by embedding the sustainability linked features in line with Axiata’s sustainability framework which is consistent with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, to ensure an optimal financing package for Axiata. The Syndicated Financing is structured according to the framework established by the Asia Pacific Loan Market Association (“APLMA”) Sustainability Linked Loan Principles 2019.
Commenting on the successful financial close of the Syndicated Financing, Managing Director, Senior Banker & Head of Investment Banking of OCBC Bank, Ms Tan Ai Chin said: “The success of this landmark Syndicated Financing is a significant affirmation of our longstanding collaborative partnership with Axiata in innovating a new benchmark in the financing market besides ensuring that Axiata will be financially incentivised and therefore better empowered to enhance the sustainability performance of its businesses towards a sustainable future. The incorporation of the sustainability-linked features into the Syndicated Financing which include Axiata’s commitment to reduce carbon footprint emission, is testament to both our organisations’ pledges towards ensuring sustainability remains at the core of our business principles.
“The sustainability-linked financing facility is the OCBC Group’s latest significant milestone in its effort to achieve a S$10 billion sustainable finance portfolio by 2022. OCBC Group closed out 2019 by topping two significant sustainable finance league tables – Bloomberg’s 2019 Mandated Lead Arranger (MLA) league table for green loans and renewable energy loans, as well as the 2019 MLA league table for green loans and sustainability-linked loans by intelligence service Debtwire. Both league tables are for Asia Pacific, excluding Japan.
“We are indeed honoured to have played a lead role in this Syndicated Financing jointly with the support of Maybank Islamic and MUFG to bring this ground breaking financing arrangement to a successful close within the original timeline set by Axiata before the MCO was announced by the Malaysian Government. It would not have been possible without the strong commitment and support of the Axiata Team, which exemplified the height of professionalism displayed by the management team of one of the leading telecommunication groups in the region,” she said.