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Woori Financial Group joins first movers list of ESG bonds

Woori Financial Group plans to issue environmental, social and governance hybrid bonds in South Korean won after gaining top credentials, the company said Sunday, joining a growing list of investment firms tapping into the fast-growing market.

The financial company said it plans to issue ESG bonds in the form of hybrid securities after acquiring ST1, the highest grade for sustainable financing in a five-tier grading system, from Korea Ratings, a credit rating company. Woori plans to decide the interest rates at the end of this month and issue bonds worth a combined 200 billion won ($177 million). 

Woori Financial Group headquarters in Seoul (Woori Financial Group)
Woori Financial Group headquarters in Seoul (Woori Financial Group)


It will be the country’s first financial holding company to issue ESG bonds after receiving the highest level of ESG certification from a credit rating agency, the company said.

Other domestic investment firms are ramping up their efforts to become first movers in the ESG bond market.

Samsung Securities said Feb. 15 that it received the top certification in the green bond category after an ESG certification evaluation by the NICE Investors Service and then went on to issue 560 billion won worth of ESG bonds.

The Industrial Bank of Korea announced Feb. 18 that it was issuing 1.08 trillion won worth of ESG bonds after attaining the top level in the Korea Investors Service’s social bond category.

By Park Ga-young (gypark@heraldcorp.com)
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