To all China-based lenders, the Belt and Road Initiative is serious business. But few have poured so much of their labours and resources into promoting BRI-related projects at all levels as ICBC (Asia).
The Hong Kong-based division of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has invested billions of dollars in belt-and-road projects scattered across southeast Asia, including in Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, according to chief executive, Jiang Yisheng, with a focus on large infrastructure projects in ports, power and transportation sectors.
In July, it signed a cooperation framework with Commerzbank that will see the German bank lend $5 billion to BRI projects over the next five years.
You can see ICBC (Asia)’s growing presence in southeast Asia wherever you look. In March, it was mandated as sole arranger of a $200 million, five-year syndicated loan by Longi Green Energy Technology. The Shanghai-listed maker of mono-crystalline wafers is using a chunk of the capital to build a 500-megawatt silicon module factory in Malaysia.
ICBC (Asia) was also a mandated lead arranger and bookrunner on Star Energy consortium’s acquisition of Chevron’s geothermal and power business in the Philippines and Indonesia, valued at $3 billion, making this the largest Asia-Pacific renewable energy deal of the year.
Seen from any angle, this was a benchmark deal, financed solely by commercial banks, and helping to transform Star Energy into Indonesia’s largest geothermal power plant operator.
A strong seam of sustainability runs through ICBC (Asia), which focuses heavily on promoting and financing green projects. In June, the bank priced a dual-currency, triple-tranche, $730 million green bond inside its parent, with the aim of using the capital to invest in sustainable BRI projects across the region.