Thailand Bond House: Bangkok Bank

IFR Asia Awards 2020
3 min read
Kit Yin Boey

Master developer

Bangkok Bank stood out in 2020 for its efforts to develop the Thai baht bond market, actively supporting the government’s push to introduce new technologies and promote sustainable finance.

It led Toyota Leasing Thailand’s pioneering blockchain bond, helped arrange the Kingdom of Thailand’s first sustainable bond and worked hard to reopen the market after Thai Airways defaulted on its debt.

The bank ended the IFR awards period at the top of the league table with Bt147.6bn (US$4.5bn) of deals under its belt, maintaining its 17% market share.

Toyota’s Bt500m 1.5% blockchain bond, privately placed in December 2019, was the first to use a new security depository system based on distributed ledger technology. The settlement initiative is part of the government’s five-year masterplan to deepen the bond markets, and the deal helped educate institutional investors ahead of the planned transfer of all government bonds to blockchain technology in 2022.

Bangkok Bank showcased its commitment to green and sustainable financing with a series of high-profile deals, headlined by the Kingdom of Thailand’s first sustainability bond in August.

The bank was involved in the deal at an early stage, when the government was planning to offer green notes to fund a transit project. After Covid-19 hit, it helped the finance ministry set up a broader sustainability framework to support a Bt1.9trn stimulus programme to offset the impact of the pandemic.

August’s Bt30bn 15-year syndicated offering was followed by a Bt20bn tap in November.

Bangkok Bank was involved in arranging a second-party opinion, obtaining green certification from the Climate Bonds Initiative and educating investors on the new framework.

The bank’s ability to engage investors on green deals was also key to restoring confidence in the corporate bond market after the collapse of state-owned Thai Airways, a major bond issuer, which filed for bankruptcy protection in May.

A Bt5bn offering of green notes in August from Global Power Synergy (GPSC), the power unit of Thai oil giant PTT, was one of the first from a state-backed corporate issuer since Thai Airways’ default and came at a time when markets were reeling from the pandemic.

“There were many investor concerns during the GPSC roadshows and to allay those concerns, we explained and helped them understand the underlying inherent strength of the market,” said Narin Opamuratawongse, Bangkok Bank’s executive vice president and manager of the merchant banking division.

Virtual investor roadshows helped rally demand and allowed GPSC to price towards the tight end of its guidance ranges while hitting its maximum issue size – a result that boosted investor confidence in the bond market.

Bangkok Bank followed that up with green bonds for Ratch Group and BTS Group for a combined Bt16.6bn in November.

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