Supporting the world’s first-ever syndicated sustainability-linked loan for an aircraft lessor by CDB Aviation

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Crédit Agricole CIB acted as Sole Sustainability Agent, joint Lead Sustainability Structuring Advisor, Mandated Lead Arranger and Facility Agent in this landmark transaction.

On 1 December 2023, CDB Aviation announced the closing of its inaugural sustainability-linked loan facility (SLL) of USD 625 million. A top 10 aircraft leasing company worldwide, CBD Aviation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co., Ltd. (CDB Leasing), a 38-year-old Chinese leasing company owned by the China Development Bank.

World’s first-ever large scale syndicated SLL for an aircraft lessor

Being the first sustainability-linked syndicated term loan facility for an aircraft lessor, this transaction is a milestone for the aircraft leasing industry. SLLs are increasingly being used as a financing means for industry players to improve their overall ESG profile and anchor their business decision towards a more sustainable future. This facility demonstrates CDB Aviation’s commitment to being a leader on ESG matters and its efforts to manage its environmental impact.

The terms of the financing are linked to CDB Aviation achieving of certain predefined Sustainability Performance Targets (“SPTs”) based on three Key Performance Indicators (“KPIs”): 

  • reducing the carbon intensity of CDB Aviation’s fleet; 
  • increasing the share of new generation aircraft in the lessor’s fleet, pursuing its target to reach 60% of new generation aircraft (by number of aircraft) by the end of 2025;  
  • increasing the level of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion-related trainings for the workforce.   

Moody’s Investors provided the Second Party Opinion, confirming the conformity of the facility with the Sustainability Linked Loan Principles (SLLPs) with a sustainability rating of “SQS2” considered best-in class for an aircraft lessor.

“This innovative facility marks a landmark transaction for the aviation finance space. We are thrilled to have leveraged our comprehensive sustainability strategy, with a particular focus on the activities across the Environmental and Social aspects of our operations, to secure this first major sustainability-linked loan syndicated facility among aircraft lessors.”

Jie Chen

CDB Aviation’s Chief Executive Officer

A lasting commitment to aviation propelled by sustainability

After having contributed to the first sustainability-linked JOLCO financing in Asia-Pacific Will open in a new tab for Cathay Pacific Airways in 2022, Crédit Agricole CIB is delighted that our long-standing client CDB Aviation entrusted us with the Lead Structuring Advisor and Sole Sustainability Agent roles to arrange its inaugural sustainability-linked loan facility. This illustrates the strength of our approach to combine the longstanding experience of our Aviation Finance team with the expertise of our highly-regarded Sustainable Banking franchise.

This transaction also demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the aircraft finance sector in Asia-Pacific, where we have been present for over 40 years and where we now strongly encourage more responsible investments. We are certain that it will pave the way for us to assist other leasing customers advancing their ESG strategies.

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