Barbados was selected as this year’s winner of the ESG Loan Deal of the Year at the recently-held Bonds, Loans & ESG Capital Markets Latin America & Caribbean Awards.
The country copped the award for the US$146.5 million Blue Term Loan through global lead arranger, Credit Suisse, and domestic lead arranger, CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited.
Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and Investment, Ryan Straughn, accepted the award on behalf of the Government of Barbados at an official ceremony at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, on day two of Latin America and Caribbean’s largest and most senior corporate and investment banking event.
The award-winning Blue Loan facility was executed in September 2022.
Barbados was able to finance a landmark debt conversion which created new funding for marine conservation and also included a new pandemic clause that allows the country to defer debt payments in an emergency.
It was able to generate savings of up to US$50 million by refinancing expensive existing government debt with cheaper credit-enhanced financing that it used to buy back government bonds trading below par.
The transaction came with a US$100 million guarantee from the Inter-American Development Bank and a US$50 million guarantee from global conservation organisation The Nature Conservancy in a hybrid blended financing that combined multilateral and private capital.
Since 2014, the Bonds and Loans Awards have been recognising the year’s most innovative and ground-breaking deals from sovereign, corporate and financial institution issuers and borrowers.
Earlier this year, Barbados’ Blue Loan also netted the Sustainable Loan Financing Award in the International Finance Review (IFR) Awards for 2022 which recognised excellence in capital markets and investment banking around the globe.