$945m green loan to fund Allianz and Gaw Capital's acquisition of Duo Tower and Duo Galleria

Duo Tower is an office block with 570,000 square feet of prime Grade-A commercial space, while Duo Galleria comprises 56,000 sq ft of retail space. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - United Overseas Bank (UOB), DBS Bank and Standard Chartered ank (Singapore) have teamed up to provide a $945 million green loan to Allianz Real Estate and Gaw Capital Partners for their acquisition of Duo Tower and Duo Galleria in Bugis.

Both Duo Tower and Duo Galleria have held the Green Mark Platinum Certification awarded by the Singapore Building and Construction Authority since 2013. This is in recognition of the mixed-office and retail development's green features, such as a rainwater harvesting system, surrounding lush green landscape and its double-glazed low-emissivity glass exterior that helps to reduce the amount of heat entering the building, thereby lowering the energy needed to power the air-conditioning.

Located above the Bugis MRT Interchange station, Duo Tower is an office block with 570,000 square feet of prime Grade-A commercial space, while Duo Galleria comprises 56,000 sq ft of retail space. The assets were purchased for $1.58 billion from M+S, a 60:40 tie-up between Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional and Temasek Holdings.

The three banks acted as green loan advisers, joint mandated lead arrangers, underwriters and bookrunners to Ophir-Rochor Commercial, the 60:40 joint venture between Allianz Real Estate and Hong Kong private equity firm Gaw Capital. UOB also acted as the facility and security agent to the syndicated green loan.

Ms Lim Lay Wah, UOB's global head of financial institutions group, said, "The real estate sector has been leading the charge in the demand for green financing, with more property owners, managers and financial sponsors upholding sustainability standards as part of their climate action efforts."

Mr Chew Chong Lim, DBS Bank managing director and global head of real estate, institutional banking group, said: "Responsible banking is one of the key tenets of our sustainability agenda and financing green infrastructure is an important way to encourage a tangible shift towards a low carbon economy."

Mr Patrick Lee, chief executive officer of Standard Chartered Bank Singapore, noted that Singapore was fast becoming a hub for green and sustainable loans with over US$6 billion (S$8 billion) of loan issuances between 2018 and October 2019.

The Government announced a series of new green initiatives last month to tackle climate change. Among them, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will develop grant schemes to help defray the cost of borrowing for green and sustainability-linked projects and businesses. MAS will also roll out a US$2 billion green investment programme to place funds with asset managers in "public market investment strategies" that have a strong green focus.

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