- Standard Bank Group, Citi, Norfund and CDC Group fund Greenlight Planet Kenya, leading solar energy business in Africa
- The transaction is one of the first sustainability-linked deals in Kenya and strengthens the growing trend of syndicated sustainable finance deals in the region
- ESG criteria incorporated into the facility to maximise Greenlight Planet’s impact across Africa and will contribute towards the United Nation’s SDG 7, on ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Standard Bank Group, Citi, CDC Group and Norfund have partnered to provide a USD75M equivalent KES denominated Sustainable Finance Facility for Greenlight Planet Kenya, Africa’s leader in off-grid solar home solutions.
The landmark facility is one of the first sustainability-linked deals in Kenya, and one of the largest syndicated sustainable finance deals in the region to be provided in local currency. The transaction will allow Greenlight Planet to expand access to off-grid solar solutions to off-grid communities throughout Kenya and support its ambitions to reach an additional 10 million households globally in the next 5 years by enabling households to afford “pay-as-you-go” solar home systems through digital financing.
The deal involved a high level of collaboration and important contributions from all parties. Citi served as the Sole Coordinator on the transaction, while Standard Bank acted as Sustainability Coordinator and executed the FX conversion to facilitate the repayment of the parent loan, in turn aiding local currency funding. The KES denominated loan will minimize Greenlight Planet’s exposure to currency exchange fluctuations, allowing the business to focus on growth, employment, and innovation. The deal also includes integrating three sustainability linked KPIs to the funding which covered both social and environmental metrics as follows:
- The number of people benefiting from reliable energy financing
- Cumulative avoidance of CO2 emissions
- Ensuring a gender balanced management team
As existing investors in Greenlight Planet, CDC Group and Norfund’s new round of investments aims to incorporate additional private sector capital and demonstrate the long-term viability of the off-grid solar sector, as well as enable the business to scale its operations in Kenya. Dentons acted as lender’s legal counsel on the deal and Power Africa provided legal support and advice to Greenlight Planet for this transaction, assisting with negotiation and review of financing and guarantee documents.
Greenlight Planet Kenya is a Group Company of Greenlight Planet Inc, a leading designer, distributor and financier of rooftop solar home systems for off-grid and weak-grid homes. Through its network of 200 branches and 8,000 field agents, Greenlight sells its Sun King-branded solar energy systems directly to its off-grid residential clients and provides 'pay-as-you-go' financing to facilitate their purchase. To date, the company’s Sun King products have saved customers more than $4 billion cumulatively, which would otherwise be used to purchase CO2-emitting kerosene lanterns and to charge mobile phones.
The transaction aligns Greenlight Planet’s funding with its environmental and social impact goals linked to financial inclusion, clean energy and gender equality by incorporating Sustainability Performance Targets into the facility.
Anneke Lund, Executive, Sustainable Finance at Standard Bank Group, said: “We at Standard Bank Group are very happy to announce this first to market transaction for Greenlight Planet Kenya. The business’s ESG strategy sits at the core of its business model, and we are proud to have structured a sustainability linked facility that further highlights these commitments. Driving positive environmental and social impact sits at the heart of our Social, Economic and Environmental impact strategy."
Birgit Edlefsen, Senior Investment Manager in Norfund, said: “As an active investor since 2019, Norfund has been impressed by how Greenlight Planet contributes to improving lives through increasing access to affordable and clean energy across several key regions. We are delighted to be able to continue to support the company through this investment in Kenya, and provide local currency that can enable the company to reach an even larger number of people and local communities.”
Michael Mutiga, Managing Director, Head of Corporate Finance, SSA, Citi said “Off-grid solar home systems are a vital way to expand access to clean energy and to supplement national grids that may not have the reach to help transform the lives of people who are still without electricity. By expanding access to affordable and reliable energy for millions of households in underserved communities, Citi’s financing of Greenlight Planet helps address social, economic and environmental challenges of low-income households in Kenya and beyond as part of our commitment to support social-focused developments in emerging markets.”
Anish Thakkar, Co-founder, Greenlight Planet Kenya, said: “600 million off-grid homes will spend over a thousand dollars each on smoky, carbon-emitting kerosene lamps for household light in the next decade. Many of them simply need short-term purchase financing to be able to afford one of our clean, rooftop Sun King solar systems to light their home and power appliances like their phone or a TV. This facility led by Standard Bank, Citi, Norfund and CDC will allow hundreds of thousands of off-grid families to make the switch from kerosene to clean, safe and abundant rooftop solar.”
Geoffrey Manley, Head of Energy Access and Efficiency, CDC Group, said: “We’re excited to be deepening our commitment to Greenlight Planet through this partnership alongside other investors, with a joint objective of improving energy access for an estimated 3.2 million people in Kenya, particularly low-income households. Off-grid solar (OGS) systems play a vital role is supporting inclusive economic growth, by providing cleaner energy and improving quality of life, health and safety. Greenlight Planet is a market leader. Their ability to attract lending from world-class commercial banks is a testament to this and a positive signal for the OGS market.”
For further information, please contact:
Standard Bank Group
+44 20 7413 3764
+27 (0)11 944 0069
Per Kristian Sbertoli
+47 930 89 103
+ 44 (0) 788 037 2305
About Standard Bank Group
Standard Bank Group is the largest African bank by assets, operating in 20 African countries and 5 global financial centres. Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, we are listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, with share code SBK, and the Namibian Stock Exchange, share code SNB.
Standard Bank has a 158-year history in South Africa and started building a franchise outside southern Africa in the early 1990s. Our strategic position, which enables us to connect Africa to other select emerging markets as well as pools of capital in developed markets, and our balanced portfolio of businesses, provide significant opportunities for growth.
The group has over 50 000 employees, more than 1100 branches and over 6500 ATMs on the African continent, which enable it to deliver a complete range of services across personal and business banking, corporate and investment banking and wealth management. The group’s largest shareholder is the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the world’s largest bank, with a 20.1% shareholding. In addition, Standard Bank Group and ICBC share a strategic partnership that facilitates trade and deal flow between Africa, China and select emerging markets. For further information, go to http://www.standardbank.com
Stanbic Bank Kenya Limited is licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Kenya and provides the full spectrum of financial and banking services for Corporates, SMEs, and Individuals. Stanbic Bank Kenya delivers a comprehensive range of products and services relating to investment banking; global markets; and global transactional products and services.
About Greenlight Planet
Greenlight Planet is a multinational, for-profit business that designs, distributes and finances solar home energy solutions with an underserved population in mind: the 800 million population for whom the traditional electrical grid is either inaccessible or too expensive. Greenlight Planet has sold over 15 million Sun King™ solar home energy products to off-grid households around the world. Greenlight Planet reaches remote, off-grid customers through a vast network of micro-entrepreneurs, more than 300 global strategic distribution partners, and its proprietary Sun King EasyBuy (“pay-as-you-go”) instalment payment technology that makes safe, high-quality solar energy products affordable for all. Greenlight Planet’s Sun King™ products are currently installed in 65+ countries and serve more than 70 million beneficiaries.
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.
Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com | Twitter: @Citi | YouTube: www.youtube.com/citi | Blog: http://blog.citigroup.com | Facebook: www.facebook.com/citi| LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/citi.
Norfund is the Norwegian Investment Fund for developing countries. Our mission is to create jobs and to improve lives by investing in businesses that drive sustainable development. Norfund is owned and funded by the Norwegian Government and is the Government’s most important tool for strengthening the private sector in developing countries, and for reducing poverty. Norfund’s committed portfolio totals 3.3 billion USD in Sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Asia, and Central America. Norfund has four investment areas: Clean Energy, Financial Institutions, Scalable Enterprises and Green Infrastructure. Investments in Clean Energy account for about 50% of the portfolio and 50% of the portfolio is in Sub-Saharan Africa. For more information, please visit: www.norfund.no
About CDC Group
CDC Group is the UK’s impact investor with over 70 years of experience of successfully supporting the sustainable, long-term growth of businesses in South Asia and Africa. The company is a leading player in the fight against climate change and has committed more than $1bn of climate finance over the last four years.
CDC is also a founding member of the 2X challenge which has raised $10bn to empower women’s economic development. The company has investments in over 1000 businesses in emerging economies and total assets of $9.3bn. In 2020, CDC committed over of $1.5bn to businesses in Africa and Asia, and aims to invest up to $1.75bn in 2021 – with a focus on driving inclusive growth, job creation and supporting economic recovery from COVID-19.
CDC is funded by the UK government and is a champion of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. All proceeds from CDC’s investments are reinvested to improve the lives of millions of people in Africa and South Asia. CDC’s expertise makes it an ideal partner for private investors looking to devote capital to making a measurable environmental and social impact in countries most in need of investment.