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Announcement:

Moody's assigns Green Bond Assessment (GBA) of GB1 to Zuercher Kantonalbank's CHF200 million green bond issued in June 2019

15 Jul 2019

Second GBA assigned to a Zuercher Kantonalbank green bond offering

New York, July 15, 2019 -- Moody's Investors Service has today assigned a Green Bond Assessment (GBA) of GB1 (Excellent) to Zuercher Kantonalbank's (ZKB, Aaa stable) second green bond, issued in June 2019. The fixed-rate offering in the amount of CHF200 million ($202 million) constitutes a senior unsecured obligation of the bank and matures in June 2029. The pool of green assets related to this offering is the same as the bank's debut green bond issued in May 2018, to which we assigned a GB1 assessment in April 2018.

"ZKB's second green bond offering reflects the bank's ongoing commitment to sustainability initiatives," said Matthew Kuchtyak, a Moody's lead green bond analyst. "The bank's demonstrated record of already publishing a timely and detailed annual post-issuance green bond report supports our belief that it will continue doing so over the life of its green bonds."

ASSESSMENT RATIONALE

Funds raised through the green bond will be used exclusively to refinance energy-efficient real estate under the ZKB Umweltdarlehen environmental loan program. Properties to be refinanced include private and commercial real estate as well as housing cooperatives. To meet the criteria for the ZKB Umweltdarlehen program, the assets must qualify under one of a variety of energy efficiency standards for either new construction or refurbishment (Minergie, 2000 Watt Areal or GEAK). Given the nature of the standards, the green bond proceeds will be applied to assets that qualify under the energy efficiency category of the Green Bond Principles. The ZKB Umweltdarlehen environmental loan program has been in place since 1992.

ZKB has identified approximately 2,800 qualifying green mortgages to form the pool of eligible green assets for refinancing under the green bond program. These qualifying loans total CHF1.2 billion, well in excess of the aggregate anticipated CHF525 million of ZKB green bonds issued to date. The bank has disclosed the breakdown of these green loans by legal ownership and building type, as well as by energy standard. The granular detail linking the use of proceeds to the various energy standards allows for an aggregate view of the benefits of the pool of green assets. While there will be no breakdown of the mortgages linked to each individual green bond issuance, the fact that all identified mortgages qualify under the environmental loan program allows for clarity that all assets are green.

To calculate the quantifiable environmental benefits of the pool of green mortgages, ZKB has worked with Minergie to devise an impact report for the portfolio of loans covered by the Minergie standard. Though this impact report only covers loans qualifying under the Minergie standard, these loans currently represent nearly 90% of the loans in the green pool.

ZKB will publish a post-issuance green bond report on its website annually, a practice that will continue over the life of the bonds. The report will provide information including the current volume of green bonds outstanding, the current volume of mortgages for energy-efficient real estate, as well as updated impact reporting.

Although the annual report will provide updated impact assessments based on the composition of the pool of green mortgages at the time of the impact report, the nature of the assets being refinanced limits certain aspects of the reporting. Given that the green bond is refinancing individual mortgages for properties, there is no way to calculate actual energy efficiency benefits of the buildings in practice. Instead, the reporting will be updated on a theoretical basis and highlight the aggregate savings the buildings with specific criteria are likely achieving versus the baseline.

In April 2019, ZKB published its first annual green bond report covering its debut green bond. This annual green bond report describes the amount of green bonds outstanding, the volume of mortgages for energy-efficient real estate, and updated impact reporting on the estimated environmental benefits of the mortgages financed with the green bonds.

Given that proceeds from the green bond issuance will be used exclusively to refinance mortgages that have already qualified for a specific energy standard, there is little risk that green bond proceeds will not be directed to green assets as intended. Furthermore, given that the value of the aggregate green bonds outstanding is well below the pool of identified green mortgages, there is minimal near-term risk that the balance of green bonds will exceed the balance of identified green assets.

In the future, ZKB may issue additional green bonds to refinance the green assets in the identified pool. Per its green bond framework, the bank has indicated that new green bonds will only be issued if the total outstanding volume of eligible mortgages exceeds the pro forma volume of green bonds after a planned new issue by at least 10%. In the event that the volume of the outstanding green bonds exceeds the total outstanding volume of eligible mortgages at any time, the unallocated proceeds from green bonds will be temporarily held in a segregated account and invested in cash and/or in green bonds of other issuers.

ABOUT ZUERCHER KANTONALBANK

Zuercher Kantonalbank (ZKB) is a full-service Swiss bank with strong regional operations in the canton of Zurich. As of 31 December 2018, ZKB held a 6.9% share of Swiss domestic client deposits, 7.5% share of Swiss domestic loans and an 8.4% share of total Swiss domestic banking assets, based on its total consolidated assets of CHF169.4 billion. It is Switzerland's largest cantonal bank and the country's third-largest provider of investment funds.

ZKB was founded in 1870 as an independent public-law institution of the canton of Zurich. In accordance with the constitution of the canton, the bank is ultimately supervised by the cantonal parliament of Zurich.

METHODOLOGY

The methodology used in this analysis was Green Bonds Assessment (GBA) published in March 2016. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

This publication does not announce a credit rating action. For any credit ratings referenced in this publication, please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the most updated credit rating action information and rating history.

Matthew Kuchtyak
Analyst
Infrastructure Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

Jim Hempstead
MD - Utilities
Infrastructure Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

No Related Data.
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