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DBS, partner target US$100m for women's livelihood bond programme

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Local lender DBS Bank has returned as official banking partner and sole placement agent for the second round of a debt security listing aimed at supporting women in Asia.

LOCAL lender DBS Bank has returned as official banking partner and sole placement agent for the second round of a debt security listing aimed at supporting women in Asia.

DBS and Singapore-based capital firm Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) will issue a series of bonds with a target of US$100 million under the newly launched Women's Livelihood Bond scheme, they said in a media statement on Wednesday.

The scheme will fund and support South and South-east Asian enterprises tackling financial inclusion, clean energy access and sustainable agriculture, with the goal of benefiting one million vulnerable women.

Pricing details for the bonds, which will be released in several tranches, are not yet out. The plan is to list the issuances on a stock exchange and sell them to global investors. 

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The first Women's Livelihood Bond had an issuance of US$8 million, with a four-year tenor and a coupon rate of 5.65 per cent a year. It was listed on the Singapore Exchange and closed in July 2017, and will not be counted towards the new fundraising target.

Durreen Shahnaz, IIX's chief executive and founder, called the bond scheme an innovative financial structure that empowers women "by providing critical capital to those who are breaking the cycle of poverty and enabling women to take control of their own livelihoods".

Meanwhile, Clifford Lee, head of fixed income at DBS Bank, said its tie-up with IIX was a partnership "with like-minded communities to bring innovative offerings to investors globally".

"As Asia's economic fortunes continue to grow, awareness of sustainability issues is growing in tandem. As such, we expect to see greater interest for sustainable investment opportunities in the region as they not only generate positive financial returns, but social returns as well," he added.

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