Winner: Project Condor
Covid-19 was an unmitigated tragedy for Latin Americans. But it had at least one unexpected positive impact for the region’s metropolises: they were able to breath pure air once again.
In Santiago, the sharp drop in road traffic caused a 71% reduction in the levels of nitrogen oxide suspended in the air, right after the start of the pandemic. The improvement in air quality was palpable for the city’s inhabitants, and lower levels of contamination reminded people that high pollution levels don’t have to be unavoidable.
Such realizations also moved the authorities to pledge further action to improve air quality. The Chilean government, for instance, said that it will work for the country to become carbon neutral by 2050, and announced a National Electromobility Strategy as part of this effort.
However, for such macro level pledges to become a meaningful reality, they must ultimately also improve the daily life of citizens. It is in this context that a green bond issued by a Chilean transportation consortium was chosen as the PIFA 2021 Social Infrastructure Deal of the Year.
In August 2020, financial company AMP Capital Investors and Enel X Chile, a subsidiary of Italian energy group Enel, closed a 10-year, $129.5 million green loan to fund the purchase of 433 electric buses, and associated infrastructure, for Santiago’s strained public transportation system.
The lenders were BNP Paribas, Société Générale and SMBC, and the provider of the buses is China’s BYD. The transaction helps Chile to consolidate itself as one of the world’s leaders in the electrification of public transportation systems.
“We expect that this deal will pave the way to more transactions in the sector by international lenders in Chile or other Latin American countries like Colombia and Brazil,” BNP Paribas said in a statement. The bank stressed that the deal was closed under difficult circumstances, due to the impact of Covid-19, and in only three months, in order to accommodate requirements by the different contracts involved.
Public transportation is the second of five priorities of the electromobility strategy, which aims to achieve a 100% electric fleet by 2050. The deal helps Santiago to move in the right direction. Now, around 10% of the city’s more than 6,000-strong bus fleet can move around without generating air pollution.
AMP Capital, Enel X Chile
Joint Lead Arrangers / Joint Green Loan Coordinators:
BNP Paribas, SMBC, Société Générale
White & Case, Claro y Cia Abogados, Allen & Overy, Shearman & Sterling, Carey y Cia Abogados, Garrigues, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
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