ANI: Bond float to fund agri project expansion

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AgriNurture Inc. (ANI), the listed firm of businessman Antonio Tiu, said it will use the proceeds of its 75-million euro green bond float to fund the expansion of the company’s agricultural project that is geared toward climate change adaptation.

“Furthermore, proceeds would enable ANI to strengthen its production and trade of fresh organic produce and implement projects with positive environmental benefits,” the company said.

ANI was able to secure a high rating from international research and rating agency Cicero Shades of Green for its 75-million euro green bond float in Europe.

The company said its paper received medium green certification from the ratings firm, a high rating allocated to projects and solutions that represent steps toward the long-term vision. ANI is the first Philippine agricultural firm to receive such a rating.

The company plans to issue green bonds of up to 75 million euros with a maturity of up to 7 years. It is the only agriculture company in the Philippines to be given a go signal to issue green bonds so far.

Based on the rating, the company has strong governance procedures and ambitions to improve further. The company, for instance, is targeting AgriNurture Group to be climate neutral by 2030. It has also set targets related to renewable energy and organic farming.

The company said it hopes to become the country’s top sustainable producer of organic agricultural food products.

Based in Oslo, Cicero Shades of Green is a subsidiary of the climate research institute Cicero. It provides independent, research-based evaluations of green bond investment frameworks to determine their environmental strength.

Their other ratings are graded as Dark Green, Medium Green, Light Green and Brown to offer investors a better insight into the environmental quality of green bonds.

ANI has previously secured the authority to issue the long-term green bonds as well as the issuance of commercial papers, with terms and conditions to be recommended by management and to be approved by the board.

The company, which became public in 2009, has commercial activities in China, Hong Kong and Australia. It had a gross revenue of P4.5 billion for the three quarters of 2020 despite the pandemic.

It exports its products to Asia, Middle East, Europe and North America. Its brands include Big Chill, Tully’s, Cheesecake Etc. and plant based meat substitute Fit Bites via auto vending machines, kiosks, cafeterias and coffee shops, providing a range of food and beverage product lines.

Its projects in the pipeline include organic farming, renewable energy, energy efficiency, environmentally sustainable management of living natural resources and land use, clean transportation, and digital agriculture.

The most significant investments are expected in the environmentally sustainable management of living natural resources category, focusing on organic banana and corn/rice production, the company said.

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