AccorHotels secures €1.2bn green revolving credit facility

A syndicate of 15 banks signs the five-year loan, with the margin of the debt facility linked to the French group’s ESG performance.

France’s AccorHotels has signed a €1.2 billion revolving credit facility with a syndicate of 15 banks, with the loan’s margin dependent on the group’s environmental, social and governance performance.

The new facility has a five-year tenor, including an option to extend the loan term by two one-year periods. It replaces an undrawn €1.8 billion facility signed in June 2014, that had been reduced to €1.2 billion following the sale of a majority stake in AccorInvest, the group’s property business, in May to a consortium of international investors. For AccorHotels, the transaction resulted in a gross cash contribution of €4.6 billion.

“The debt will be used for the group’s general corporate purposes worldwide, as we operate in 99 countries,” an AccorHotels spokesman told Real Estate Capital. He did not disclose the margin of the facility, but said it is lower than the cost of the previous RCF.

The lenders in the RCF deal include BNP Paribas as co-ordinator, documentation and sustainability agent, Société Générale as co-ordinator and facility agent, MUFG and Unicredit as co-ordinators as well as Banco Santander, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citibank, Crédit Agricole CIB, Commerzbank, CM-CIC, HSBC, ING, Natixis and NatWest as mandated lead arrangers.

AccorHotels’ current sustainability performance has been assessed by ESG research provider Sustainalytics. The resulting score will be used as the benchmark against which performance improvements will be assessed.

“Our group is fully committed to ESG issues, and we take pride in being a member of most key sustainability indices,” Jean-Jacques Morin, chief financial officer of AccorHotels, said.

In a similar move, French REIT Gecina signed in April the first commercial real estate loan to be priced in relation to sustainability performance rated by the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB).

The €150 million ‘sustainable improvement loan’, provided by ING, showed the increasing scope for real estate finance deals to be arranged in reference to ESG criteria.

“We have a number of bank members that are looking to similar loan programmes,” said GRESB’s Ruben Langbroek at the time. “Analysing GRESB’s results provides lenders an approach to better understand the risks and possible opportunities related to the borrowers. It also offers an opportunity to improve the monitoring of their loan portfolios.”

In the UK, Lloyds is lending through a £1 billion (€1.2 billion) green fund that provides margin discounts.