Gunvor Group (“Gunvor”), one of the world’s largest physical energy commodities traders, has closed a new sustainability-linked borrowing base facility (“Facility”) to support operations at Gunvor Refinery Ingolstadt. The EUR 450 million Facility complements Gunvor’s other US $725 million sustainability-linked borrowing base for refining activities in the ARA, and similarly has an interest rate dependent on the company’s year-on-year improvements in multiple sustainability criteria in the areas of “environment”, “social impact” and “governance”.
“We’re pleased to be working closely with our banking partners to find new areas of our business for sustainability-linked opportunities,” said Muriel Schwab, Chief Financial Officer, Gunvor Group. “And despite the recent market volatility and uncertainty, it is very promising to see such strong lender support for this approach, as the Ingolstadt facility was heavily over-subscribed.”
In 2018, Gunvor was the first energy commodities trading company to close a financing in which the interest rate was dependent on the company’s ability to meet sustainability criteria. Per the deal, Gunvor received a discount on its interest rate as sustainability targets were met; had Gunvor underperformed on the sustainability targets, a premium would have been added to the interest rate. That original facility has been renewed under the same terms.
Gunvor continues to view the long-term challenge for companies in the physical energy commodities trading sector to be effectively positioning themselves within the “energy transition.” In 2019, “transitional” commodities (i.e., natural gas, LNG and biofuels) comprised 45% of total trading activity (compared with “traditional” crude oil and oil products), an increase from 28% the year prior. Gunvor also acquired two biofuel plants, and committed to no longer physically trading coal, activities which ceased in 2018. The company is now actively measuring its CO2 footprint while devising a sustainability plan, of which financing is an important aspect. Gunvor is on target to substantially reduce its CO2 footprint in 2020, and will continue to work toward continuous reductions year-over-year.
Banks participating in the Ingolstadt Facility included:
Bookrunner, Mandated Lead Arranger and Sustainability Coordinator
Mandated Lead Arranger