World Bank Prices NOK 5 Billion Sustainable Development Bond While Raising Awareness for Health and Gender Equality

The World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD, Aaa/AAA) priced its first Norwegian krone-denominated benchmark of 2021, a NOK 5 billion 5-year floating rate Sustainable Development Bond. The World Bank launched the Sustainable Development Bond while raising awareness for the World Bank’s strategy, projects and programs that focus on gender equality and health and highlight how COVID-19 disproportionately impacts women.

The 5-year floating rate bond is the largest NOK deal to date for a supranational issuer. The majority of the deal was placed with banks, bank treasuries, and corporates. Overall, Norwegian investors picked up the largest share at 65%, followed by Danish and Swedish investors at 19% and 16%, respectively.

Participating investors included Oslo Pension Fund, Sparebanken Helgeland, Sparebanken Øst, Sparebanken Østlandet, Sparebanken 1 SMN, and Storebrand Bank, among others. Nordea Bank Abp acted as lead manager for the transaction.

Jingdong Hua, Vice President and Treasurer, World Bank, said, “We are pleased to be back in the NOK market and thank investors for their ongoing support of the World Bank’s mandate,” said. “Purpose and impact continue to drive our communication with investors – in our engagement with investors around this transaction, we are highlighting the critical importance of health and gender equality as the World Bank works with member countries towards a resilient recovery from COVID-19”.

Kristine Lien, Portfolio Manager, Kommunalbanken, said, “Local governments have an important position in Norwegian society, accounting for a large proportion of public sector services production. As the largest lender to the Norwegian local government, KBN has an important role in enabling the local and regional governments to improve quality of life across the country. KBN is proud to support the World Bank in sustainable development projects including those that focus on health and gender equality, reducing differences and creating opportunities for all”.

John Hopp, Head of Treasury, Sparebanken Vest, said, “Sparebanken Vest was pleased to participate in yet another World Bank Sustainable Development Bond, in this case to raise awareness for health and gender equality. This bond represents both a safe and sustainable investment for Sparebanken Vest. The World Bank has been a pioneer and leader in the rapidly growing ESG investment space. At Sparebanken Vest we are also extremely focused on being a leader in terms of gender equality, and work hard to prevent unequal treatment and discrimination. Investments like this align well with the bank’s own long-term ESG strategy”.

Philip Asp, Head of Investment Banking, Nordea, said, “Amidst the vast challenges that Covid-19 continues to present to the world, we applaud the efforts of the World Bank to support those most vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic. Nordea is proud to support the World Bank in raising awareness for this issue”.

The World Bank’s goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and promoting shared prosperity in a sustainable manner are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Increasingly, investors and other market participants are using the SDGs as a framework for investment and a way to communicate support for specific development priorities. With this Sustainable Development Bond, the World Bank is raising awareness for SDG 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing) and SDG 5 (Gender Equality). Investing in World Bank bonds offers investors an opportunity to align financial and social objectives.