RMB Facilitates First Gender-Linked Bond Issuance in Africa for Barloworld

Published on: 22 August 2022
by KnowESG
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RMB successfully arranged a R1.143bn gender-linked bond issuance across 3-year and 5-year tranches for industrial group Barloworld, acting as Arranger and Sustainability Coordinator.

Relebohile Malahleha, Barloworld Executive: Strategic Finance and Treasury, said: 

"The gender-linked bonds have been issued in alignment with our gender transformation strategy and something that we, as Barloworld, are committed to and have been monitoring for years. We are proud to have pioneered this landmark transaction."

More effort needs to be made in South Africa to achieve gender equality in the workplace and, more broadly, through equitable access to economic opportunities.

Nopasika Lila, Finance Director for Barloworld, added: 

“Barloworld is committed to playing our role in driving gender equity in South Africa and across our markets of operation. To date, we have made significant progress in ensuring gender mainstreaming across our operations. The issuance of bonds with gender-specific KPIs, the first of its kind in Africa, is a testament to our commitment and enables our stakeholders to track our progress in this regard. The KPIs that have been outlined are in line with our diversity and inclusion journey.”

RMB teamed up with Barloworld to design a gender-linked bond structure that clearly describes Barloworld's strategic relevance to gender diversity and will enable Barloworld to issue comparable instruments in the future, in keeping with this strategic priority. 

The framework has been externally evaluated to confirm its compliance with the sustainability-linked bond criteria of international capital market associations.

Danielle Frank, from RMB’s Sustainable Finance & ESG Advisory team, said:

“This gender-linked bond not only recognises the need for greater gender transformation in South Africa but also acknowledges local investor demand for more socially-aligned instruments. Sustainable finance offers a fantastic opportunity to innovate and deliver solutions for clients that support a long-term sustainable economy.”

The bond will also be listed on the JSE’s Sustainability Segment, having complied with the latest debt listing requirements.

Trishalia Naidoo from RMB’s Debt Capital Market team said: 

"Notably, the gender-linked bonds were priced competitively compared to Barloworld’s traditional bonds which are typical of funding raised for sustainability-focused debt instruments. This instrument further delivers a pricing benefit for Barloworld on the achievement of the gender performance targets and is a great demonstration of how to align an issuer's financial strategy with its sustainability strategy through innovative solutions. We are confident this transaction sets the benchmark for other corporates on the continent and will encourage companies to focus on their disclosure of gender-related metrics and ultimately commit to targets for improvement in gender diversity in their own business."

Source: RMB Bank

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