Budweiser Brewing Company APAC [1876:HK] signed a USD500m sustainability-linked loan (SLL), structured as a revolving credit facility (RCF), with a banking syndicate led by Bank of China [3988:HK] on July 12, as reported by South China Morning Post later that day. The RCF, under a three-year term, adopts a variable discount on the interest rate tied to the company’s ESG performances regarding the use of renewable energy, carbon emissions, water consumption, and recycling of packaging materials. Although the firm’s specific sustainability targets linked to the interest savings were confidential, Budweiser APAC planned to disclose its performances on those sustainability metrics in its annual ESG report, according to Jan Clysner, the company’s vice president of procurement and sustainability.
The SLL could facilitate Budweiser APAC’s 2025 sustainability goals, which included four pillars: climate action, water stewardship, circular packaging, and smart agriculture. The brewing company has already made some progress under these pillars. For example, in 2020, it reclaimed about 17m hectoliters of water from effluent through its Water Return Community program in China and became the first brewing company to use all-recycled materials for box packages in South Korea. In addition, three of Budweiser APAC’s six breweries in China have become 100% powered by renewables, while the other three have signed renewable power purchasing agreements (PPAs) to achieve so. However, the company’s products currently remain more carbon-intensive compared to peers. To illustrate, Molson Coors [TAP:US] reported 67.5kg of carbon emissions per 100L of sales last year, but Budweiser APAC’s number stood at 82.2kg.
The agreement also came amid the rising popularity of SLLs as a means of green financing. Data from Refinitiv showed that, during the first half of this year, SLLs grew 250% YoY to a record high of USD320bn. The number for the Asia-Pacific region alone, excluding Japan, was USD22bn. While other companies in Asia such as Taiwan’s Hotai Finance [6592:TT] and Hong Kong’s Sino Land [0083:HK] and Hongkong Land [HKL:SP] all secured million-dollar worth of SLLs this year, Budweiser APAC’s recent SLL was among the largest in the consumer goods industry in Asia. Furthermore, the company’s parent, Anheuser-Busch InBev [BUD:US], even set the record of the largest RCF structured SLL in history with a USD10.1bn deal from a consortium of 26 banks, which replaced an earlier one of USD9bn.