Unleashing green finance: Royal Group Phnom Penh SEZ issues first pioneering green bond to raise $10 million

Cambodia Investment Review

Royal Group Phnom Penh SEZ (RGPPSEZ) announced the issuance of 41 billion kwacha (approximately $10 million) in green bonds in the first tranche, guaranteed by the Credit Guarantee Investment Facility (CGIF), a trust fund of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). An additional $10 million will be issued in the second tranche. The proceeds will be used for green projects in Cambodia, such as the development of wastewater treatment plants and sustainable infrastructure, which will directly contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and help Cambodia achieve its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

Saw Socheat, director general of the Securities and Exchange Regulatory Authority of Cambodia (SERC), highlighted how important this development is for the country: “Cambodia is vulnerable to the effects of climate change and needs more investors who take a long-term view and invest in sustainable development. Green bonds offer an opportunity to earn investment returns while supporting environmental conservation efforts. Issuers benefit from raising funds for sustainable projects and at the same time demonstrate their commitment to contributing to sustainable development,” he said.

Cooperating on green finance

The bond issuance is a result of the Cambodia Sustainable Bond Accelerator Program, an initiative led by SERC, the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in partnership with CGIF and GuarantCo, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group, through which RGPPSEZ was selected last year to receive enhanced investment support, including technical assistance, issuance assistance and credit enhancement.

Read more: Guarantco provides $70 million bond guarantee to CamGSM (Cellcard) to fund telecommunications infrastructure in Cambodia

Ms. Shomi Kim, Head of GGGI Cambodia, praised the joint efforts that led to this milestone, saying, “The successful issuance and listing of RGPPSEZ’s green bonds demonstrates our joint commitment to address climate change and promote sustainable development. This milestone highlights the critical role that innovative financing solutions play in mobilizing resources for a greener and more resilient future. It has been an incredible journey to promote sustainable financing through our Sustainable Bond Accelerator Program, which is also co-funded by the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg through the Global Trust Fund for Sustainable Financial Instruments (GTF).”

Shomi Kim, representative of GGGI Cambodia.

Dr. Hamza Ali Malik, Director of Macroeconomic Policy and Development Financing at ESCAP, highlighted the wider impact of this initiative: “The Cambodia Sustainable Bond Accelerator Program is a testament to how partnerships and collaborations can accelerate financing for the SDGs and climate action in the region. This initiative, among other sustainable finance initiatives supported by ESCAP in Cambodia, is crucial in building sustainable capital markets and a supportive financial ecosystem. We are proud of this joint achievement, which will lay the foundations for a sustainable and thriving Cambodian economy,” he commented.

CGIF Chief Executive Officer Wang Hongwei expressed pride in the outcome of this initiative. “CGIF is proud to guarantee Royal Group Phnom Penh SEZ’s maiden bond issuance and Cambodia’s first green bond. This initiative not only marks a major milestone for RGPPSEZ, but also sets a precedent for sustainable development in Cambodia. This milestone is a testament to CGIF’s commitment to further promote Cambodia’s bond market to foster sustainable development in the region and support macroeconomic stability. Furthermore, CGIF’s support will enable RGPPSEZ to advance green infrastructure and promote environmentally friendly initiatives within the Special Economic Zone,” said Wang. Wang further stated, “This bond sets a new benchmark for other issuers in Cambodia, demonstrating the feasibility and benefits of green finance.”

More Cambodian businesses will have access to green capital

Nishant Kumar, GallantCo’s Managing Director for Asia, highlighted the catalytic role of the Sustainable Bond Accelerator Program: “We are pleased to participate in the Cambodia Sustainable Bond Accelerator Program, which has been a catalyst for further sustainable finance activity in the country. GallantCo is a strong supporter of sustainable finance for infrastructure in Cambodia and across Southeast Asia, such as through our transaction with Cellcard (CamGSM). We are pleased that this transaction will generate broader momentum, paving the way for a future where more Cambodian businesses have access to green and sustainable capital,” he said.

Hiroshi Uematsu, CEO of Royal Group Phnom Penh SEZ.

At the official green bond listing ceremony at the Cambodia Stock Exchange (CSX), Hiroshi Uematsu, CEO of Royal Group Phnom Penh SEZ, highlighted the significance of the bond issuance. “This green bond is an important step in our efforts to help Cambodia achieve its climate goals and address the gap between investors and investments in sustainable development. The bond offers an attractive opportunity for investors looking to align their financial goals with positive environmental impact,” he said.

The issuance of sustainable, thematic and green bonds offers Cambodia a multi-faceted approach that balances environmental and economic development. These instruments will not only fund important projects, but also attract investment capital driven by the global sustainability movement and contribute to the broader development of Cambodia’s financial markets. The Cambodia Sustainable Bond Accelerator Program, launched in February 2023, aims to accelerate the development of Cambodia’s green and sustainable bond market and related policies, tools and mechanisms to promote financing for climate mitigation and adaptation initiatives.

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