Italy announces its first foray into the red-hot market for green bonds

March 3, 2021, 11:52 AM UTC

Italy is making its first foray into the green bond market, the latest major debt issuer to tap into one of the fastest-growing sectors of finance.

The nation is selling debt maturing in 2045 via banks, an unusual tenor that is expected to draw interest from domestic investors as well as specialist environmental funds. European nations are piling into the market as they seek to finance a greener recovery from the pandemic.

“It comes at a perfect time,” said Althea Spinozzi, a fixed income strategist at Saxo Bank A/S. “By issuing a green bond Italy ensures to have more attention from the market, therefore better bidding metrics compared to a traditional issuance. It’s a win-win.”

Countries and companies issuing such debt, where spending is ringfenced for environmental projects, have often managed to achieve cheaper financing than from conventional bonds given a surge of investor demand. Italy is following Germany with a green debut, while Spain and the U.K. are expected to sell their inaugural ones this year.

The offering comes as a year-long rally in Italy’s bonds is under strain following a global selloff, yet investor sentiment toward the nation remains strong following the appointment of former European Central Bank President Mario Draghi as Prime Minister earlier this year. The assets remain some of the region’s highest yielding.

Societe Generale SA estimates Italy will sell around 7 billion euros ($8.5 billion) of the securities. The country mandated Credit Agricole SA and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA as structuring advisors, and those plus BNP Paribas SA, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and NatWest Markets to joint lead manage the sale.

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