SEB’s fund companies invest in green bonds in Sri Lanka

SEB’s microfinance funds and the Impact Opportunity Fund have invested 1.3 billion Sri Lankan rupees (approximately SEK 66 million) in their first green bond. The money will finance green loans from Pan Asia Banking Corporation in Sri Lanka.

June 30, 2020 | 12:25 PM

SEB Investment management currently manages six microfinance funds as well as a broader Impact Opportunity fund with a total capital of just over SEK 9 billion. The microfinance funds have previously funded Pan Asia’s lending to SMEs.

– With SEB’s groundbreaking work on green bonds, we are pleased to expand our social investments to include environmentally sustainable investments in Sri Lanka, says Camilla Löwenhielm, portfolio manager in microfinance at SEB.

The bond will finance a new loan product ”Haritha Sammana” where Pan Asia offers loans for new green initiatives and projects in Sri Lanka. The size of the loans offered is between SEK 6,000-120,000 with a maturity of between 1 and 10 years.

– Sri Lanka’s agricultural sector is in dire need of a change to more sustainable agriculture, a work where Pan Asia plays an important role with leading edge products. The new loan product can, for example, finance climate-smart input products, use of domestic seeds, solar energy and drip irrigation. It is also expected to strengthen small and medium-sized companies by offering loans for solar and energy-efficient investments, says Camilla Löwenhielm.

Hanna Holmberg, who started as portfolio manager in Microfinance at SEB in mid-May, emphasizes the importance of green bonds and microfinance funds for emerging markets.

– The green bond enables a local commercial bank to have access to long-term financing in local currency, which is extremely important in emerging markets. Then, green bonds and microfinance funds allow for additional inflow of capital that can be invested in a number of environmentally sustainable projects that have a positive economic and social impact on people’s lives.