Year: 2020

Winner: Mexico

Mexico set itself apart in the region in 2020, with bonds that expanded its investor base and added to its asset class. Its $6 billion bond in April was the second largest in Latin American history and its ESG (environmental, social, governance) bond in September was groundbreaking, cementing its distinction as our sovereign issuer of the year. Deputy Finance Minister Gabriel Yorio spoke to LatinFinance about the bonds.

LF: Mexico issued four international bonds in 2020. Why?

Yorio: “We were very busy in the past year. First, there was a lot of liquidity in the markets. Second, Mexico has a strong commitment to fiscal equilibrium, which is one of the features recognized by the investment community.”

“The first two transactions that we did in January, one in the dollar market ($2.55 billion) and one in the euro market ($1.95 billion), were highly oversubscribed. In April, we tapped the dollar market with a preventative transaction trying to get in in advance of potential shut down because of COVID-19. Oversubscription was very high for that $6 billion transaction.”

“And then we had our innovative ESG bond in September. Even though it was a small issuance in euros ($910 million), it was in high demand and oversubscribed around six times.”

LF: Why the decision in January to issue in dollars and then quickly in euros? Why not only in dollars?

“We wanted to increase our exposure in the euro market, and interest rates were lower in the euro zone early in the year so we decided to tap that market to do liability management in a more intensive way.”

“We usually do not go to the market so close together, but I think it paid off. We had no idea about the impact of COVID-19, but had already covered our financing for 2020 very early in the year.”

LF: You had already covered your needs when you came back in April with the preventative issuance, so why did you to go forward with the ESG bond in September if there was no need to raise more money?

“We decided in 2019 to analyze how to expand our investor base and diversify our markets. We were looking at a potential panda bond issuance, or if we should tap the Swiss franc or pound sterling market, but decided that it was more efficient to tap the sustainable bond market.

We started to work on the framework for the ESG bond in 2019 and introduced it to our investors in March 2020 and we were ready to tap the market, but then the pandemic outbreak happened and we decided to wait. It was an inaugural ESG bond and we wanted a good performance.

Even though we did not need the money, we decided to open space on our financing program in order to have the first sustainable reference. Since we plan on being a regular issuer of ESG bonds, we wanted to do the inaugural issuance this year so that in following years we could issue again.

We are very proud of our ESG bond. We linked the budget framework to the 2030 agenda, which is one of the features recognized by the investor community. We have been exchanging information on the ESG bond with other Latin American countries that also see opportunities in the sustainable market.” – LF

SPONSOR: United Mexican States

BANKS: Barclays, BBVA, Bank of America, BI Luxembourg, BNP Paribas, Citi, Credit Agricole, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Natixis, Santander.

LAW FIRMS: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Sullivan & Cromwell; Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau S.C.

All supporting financial institutions and law firms were transmitted to LatinFinance by the award category winners. For updates please email