JOHANNESBURG – Standard Bank has successfully syndicated a multimillion-dollar sustainability-linked debt refinancing facility for London Stock Exchange & Stock Exchange of Mauritius listed pan-African impact real estate investment and management company, GRIT Real Estate Income Group (GRIT). The syndicated facility – aligned to GRIT’s ESG goals – was structured and exclusively led by Standard Bank.
The sustainability-linked term loan and revolving credit facility, for up to US$306 million (inclusive of a small accordian piece), is the largest of its kind to date for Sub-Saharan Africa’s (excluding South Africa) real estate sector.Standard Bank acted as the sole mandated lead arranger and bookrunner for the transaction which covers GRIT’s assets and debt facilities in Mauritius, Mozambique, Zambia, Ghana, and Senegal. The cross-collateralised facility is structured across multiple jurisdictions and ensures GRIT’s debt structures are to have a longer tenor and be more efficient, flexible and optimally priced.
The facility also helps to create pathways to transform assets and lending structures to support GRIT’s ambitious sustainability targets, ensuring GRIT’s ability to scale and diversify funding structures and creating a template structure that could be implemented across the rest of GRIT’s portfolio. This has made GRIT’s loan management processes more streamlined and efficient, giving GRIT’s management greater time to focus on its other core strategic activities.
“We are pleased to lead and structure GRIT’s sustainability-linked syndicated debt facility, underlining our support and confidence of GRIT’s business and growth strategy and potential. This further diversifies GRIT’s funding by providing access to attractively priced, efficient and flexible debt facilities, which also increase the average maturity of GRIT’s debt whilst creating scale in the financing of African real estate and balancing risk profile,” said Niyi Adeleye, Standard Bank’s Head of Real Estate Finance for the Africa Region.
“We are working with our clients to encourage the adoption of sustainable practices and economic activities that create shared prosperity for current and future generations. Sustainability-linked loans are a mechanism to encourage clients to strengthen their resilience and adaptive capacity to climate change risks and social challenges by adopting sustainable solutions for their businesses. As a bank committed to Africa and her people, this is an important step in the continent’s transition toward sustainable business practices.”
Standard Bank previously led the successful US$140 million syndication of GRIT’s Mozambique facilities in October 2019, and we are excited to be leading the charge in scaling up our solutions to clients like GRIT,” said Simon Gouweloos, Standard Bank’s Deal Lead and Head of Real Estate Finance for South and Central Africa.
For Standard Bank, sustainability-linked loans tie the terms of funding to ESG outcomes to support and incentivise responsible corporate behaviour and the creation of shared values. The loan terms are therefore focused on enabling GRIT to make positive environmental, economic, and social changes to how it conducts its business.
“Our debt refinance brings enhanced scale, diversification, tenor, and optimal funding costs to our broader debt portfolio. By refinancing almost all our existing debt exposures into a single sustainability-linked facility, we are streamlining our loan management process and bolstering our commitment to our ESG targets, including carbon emission reduction and gender equality,” said Bronwyn Knight, CEO of GRIT.
The transaction is expected to be finalised by the end of October 2022. “GRIT’s family of strong partnerships across Africa enable us to deliver smart business solutions and positive impact real estate that goes beyond the physical buildings. Through collaborative partnerships such as this debt facility, we will continue to create business solutions that deliver tangible positive impact through real estate to our shareholders, wider stakeholders and the people of Africa,” concluded Knight.