Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is going green with a bang.
The pension fund set the size of its offering of 10-year bonds at $1.5 billion, a record for a single green bond transaction in Canada. The bonds, sold via its unit CPPIB Capital Inc., are offered at a spread of 71 basis points over similar-maturity federal government bonds with demand seen exceeding $2.65 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. Pricing is expected later today.
CPPIB’s new debt will dethrone Ontario’s securities due 2025 as the country’s largest green bond in Canadian dollars. The province’s outstanding securities due 2023 stand at $1.55 billion yet that total was split between two offerings; an initial $750 million was sold in January 2016, followed by a $800 million add-on of the same notes a year later.
Canada’s green bond issuance has recently been dominated by provincial governments, but an increasing number of other issuers such as insurers and municipalities have been making forays into the market in recent months.
In November, Manulife Financial Corp. became the world’s first life insurer to sell green bonds when it priced securities in Singapore dollars. The company followed that transaction in May with the first corporate green bond in Canadian dollars since 2015. The city of Ottawa sold green bonds in November, while Toronto seeks to follow suit in the second half of this year.
CPPIB’s green-bond framework allows for investments in wind and solar energy, sustainable water and wastewater management, as well as green buildings. It plans to invest more than $3 billion in renewable energy as it prepares for an expected global transition to a lower-carbon economy.
CPPIB invests on behalf of the $356.1 billion Canada Pension Plan. It boasts the highest credit score at the three largest rating firms, and started issuing debt in 2015. It sold bonds in both Canadian and U.S. dollars and the euro.
Its green bond sale is led by CIBC World Markets Inc. and RBC Dominion Securities Inc.