IFFIm sale of vaccine bonds cited as among 25 most influential

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EuroWeek says placement to benefit GAVI led to billions in socially-responsible investments in Japan

Washington DC, 20 June 2012 – The 2008 inaugural retail bond issue in Japan by the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) has been cited by EuroWeek magazine as among the 25 most influential deals, helping set a trend of ethically-themed bonds sold in Japan.

“IFFIm has inspired the Japanese investor base to become the most enthusiastic supporter of socially responsible investments anywhere,” EuroWeek’s 25th anniversary edition notes.

IFFIm is a multilateral development institution created to accelerate the availability of predictable, long-term funds for health and immunisation programmes through the GAVI Alliance. This is done by using long-term donor pledges to back the issuance of bonds on the capital markets.

The bond issuance cited by EuroWeek – a R1.7 billion, 9.9% 2-year trade arranged by Daiwa Securities in February 2008 – inspired other organisations to issue their own ethically-inspired bonds. The World Bank, IFFIm’s treasury manager, had been an active issuer in the Japanese “uridashi” retail bond market and introduced IFFIm to it with the issuance.

IFFIm’s only trade prior to that uridashi had been a US$ 1 billion benchmark in November 2006. In all, IFFIm has had 25 transactions, 21 of which have been uridashi offerings representing US$ 1.8 billion equivalent of the nearly US$ 3.7 billion raised by IFFIm on the capital markets. Nine uridashi, including the inaugural, have been rand-denominated. South Africa is one of IFFIm’s donor countries.

EuroWeek notes that the inaugural issue was the largest ever in the Japanese retail market at the time, eclipsing a deal from Toyota Motor Credit Corporation that same month. IFFIm has since had three larger uridashi issuances.

The article underlines that IFFIm more importantly opened a new market that continues to thrive. The total amount of socially-responsible bonds sold to Japanese retail investors by all issuers now stands at US$ 6.6 billion in at least nine currencies.

“IFFIm’s first appearance in the Japanese market also serves to highlight on an international stage that emerging and developing countries are working together as donors to save and improve lives,” former IFFIm Board member Arunma Oteh told EuroWeek. She served as vice president of corporate services at the African Development Bank at the time of the award-winning transaction.

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GAVI has provided funding to strengthen health systems and immunisation services in more than 70 countries.

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