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Allen & Overy advises Ant Group on the largest ESG-linked loan conversion in Asia Pacific

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Allen & Overy has advised Ant Group on the successful conversion of its USD6.5 billion syndicated loan facility (the “Facility”) into a syndicated sustainability-linked loan (“SLL”) format towards the end of 2022, the largest of its kind in Asia Pacific in 2022.

The conversion of the Facility into a syndicated SLL was completed in November 2022.

It was the first syndicated SLL for Ant Group and also the first of its kind in China’s internet sector. The SLL features a tiered two-way pricing mechanism, with interest margin adjustments linked to predetermined sustainability performance targets (“SPTs”). The SPTs are robust and consistent with Ant Group’s ESG strategies. These strategies include achieving net zero by 2030. They also include providing a safe, trusted, diverse and open ecosystem to drive common development with its partners.

The A&O team was led by Beijing-based partner Yvonne Ho, supported by a multi-disciplinary team of more than ten lawyers in six jurisdictions.

Yvonne Ho commented: “The successful conversion marked a milestone for the Asia Pacific market. We are proud to have advised Ant Group on its landmark transaction, drawing on our deep expertise and leadership in ESG and sustainability matters.”

The transaction was supported by a group of 20 financial institutions across China, the US, Europe and Asia.