This is the first transaction of this kind for Abertis and one of the first arranged in Spain.
Abertis has arranged with ING its first sustainable loan for a total amount of €100Mn. The loan has a 3-year term with a one-year extension option. The interest rate applicable to the loan is benchmarked to a sustainability rating from Sustainalytics, with the cost falling if Abertis improves its environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.
Measurement of the sustainability rating applicable to the loan arranged with ING is validated by the rating agency Sustainalytics, a leading independent firm in ESG research, ratings and analysis which helps worldwide investors to develop and implement responsible investment strategies. Sustainalytics annually evaluates companies' ESG public information and compiles a ranking based on their annual performance.
In 2016, Abertis achieved a high score for its ESG performance. The company is one of the industry leaders and has an outstanding score in issues such as code of ethics, anti-corruption policies, transparency of CSR reporting and high governance standards, thanks to the significant percentage of independent directors and gender parity on the company's Board.
Thanks to the signing of this sustainable loan, the company shows its commitment to sustainability and, at the same time, reduces its debt financing costs. José Aljaro, Chief Financial Officer of Abertis, said: "This transaction fulfils two of Abertis's key objectives: to proceed with our active liability management strategy and to sustain our motivation to work to improve sustainability".
Iñigo Churruca, Head of ING Commercial Banking Spain & Portugal, said: "This deal further illustrates ING's commitment to helping its customers improve their ESG performance while positioning itself as the leading financial institution in this sphere in the context of its global commitment to sustainability".
Active debt management
Within its strategy for streamlining financial costs, Abertis succeeded in reducing the cost of corporate debt to 2.1% in the first nine months of 2017.
On 6 October, the Group completed the repurchase of €200Mn of bonds issued by its Italian subsidiary Autostrada Brescia Verona Vicenza Padova S.p.A, of the A4 Holding company.
At present, 38% of the company's debt is bank debt and 62% is capital market debt. The Group currently has €4,372Mn of undrawn committed financing.
A commitment to sustainability
Abertis' commitment to sustainability extends to all areas of the company but finds its maximum expression in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Master Plan, which sets outs the Group's strategic objectives in sustainability through four key principles: good governance, transparency and accountability; eco-efficiency; environmental integration; and safety and quality.
Noteworthy the Group is working with several UN initiatives. These include the innovative partnership agreement between Abertis and UNICEF to tackle the main cause of death in children of school age: road accidents. This partnership will strengthen and scale-up UNICEF’s existing work to protect children on the world’s roads and provide a safe journey to school.
In the environmental arena, Abertis, via the Abertis Foundation, hosts the UNESCO International Centre for Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves, the first public-private initiative in the field of Category 2 Centres in UNESCO's network of Biosphere Reserves.
In the area of CSR, Abertis is involved in the campaign of the Global Compact Spanish Network to promote the UN Sustainable Development Goals in businesses. Since 2004, Abertis is a signatory of the United Nations’ Global Compact.