Country's third-largest private sector bank, Axis Bank on Thursday said it has successfully priced its $600 million issuance of Sustainable Additional Tier 1 (AT1) notes in the overseas markets on September 1, 2021.
The dollar-denominated, Basel III-compliant AT1 notes were finally priced at 4.10 percent, 30 bps lower than the initial price guidance, marking it a highly successful return for Axis Bank to the international bond markets after a 4 years hiatus.
With this issuance, India is now only the second jurisdiction in Asia with an ESG AT1 issuance. The offering witnessed an overwhelming response from the investors, especially high-quality real money investors, with the order book being 3.8 times oversubscribed ahead of the Final Pricing Guidance announcement.
The order book was also very well diversified across geographies (Asia 58 percent, Europe 20 percent, US 16 percent, Middle East 6 percent) and high-quality funds, insurers and sovereign wealth funds making up 83 percent of the allocations reflected Axis Bank’s strong credit fundamentals.
Equally important, 47 percent of the bonds were allocated to sustainability-focused investors. Global investors, with their participation in this marquee transaction, have shown confidence in the bank's ability to make a difference in the social and environmental landscape of India.
Environment, social and governance are pivotal to Axis Bank, which is further demonstrated by its setting up a Board level ESG Committee and a strong Sustainable Financing Framework. The bank's framework is graded as 'Credible & Impactful' by Second Party Opinion provider – Sustainalytics.
The issuance has been given a rating of B1 by Moody’s Rating Services and the pricing was not only the tightest pricing achieved for a USD AT1 transaction with an issue rating in this category but was also significantly tighter than some of the higher-rated perps from Developed Markets and Emerging Markets. The said AT1 notes will be listed on SGX-ST, ISM, INDIA INX IFSC and NSE IFSC.
"This successful transaction, which is also the largest single-tranche USD bond issuance ever for Axis Bank, reflects the faith and confidence that international investors have reposed in the Bank's franchise and robust credit and business model. The bank is committed to maintaining its strong fundamentals and focus on sustainability. We believe that this transaction will be crucial in showcasing India's growth story to the world at large," said Neeraj Gambhir, group executive & head, treasury, markets & wholesale banking products, Axis Bank.
(Edited by : Jomy Jos Pullokaran)
First Published: IST