Building Back Better Economies in CEE
Friday 23 July 2021
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) 2021 Annual Meeting and Business Forum “Building Back Better Economies” brought together regulators, bankers and corporate leaders from Western, Central and Eastern Europe June 28-July 2. UniCredit is one of the EBRD Business Forum key partners, and two of the bank’s executives were among featured speakers.
UniCredit Head of Central Europe Gianfranco Bisagni took part in the “Reinventing Capital Markets” panel, which brainstormed about how to mobilize financial markets to support an inclusive, digitally advanced and sustainable post-pandemic future.
Bisagni pointed out that the banking system - impacted by more than 500 new regulations over the last 10 years – is now more efficient and better-capitalized. This means banks are well-positioned to provide companies the support they need during the recovery, when Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) priorities will move higher up the agenda.
Banks play an important role as a bridge between investors and issuers, he pointed out. UniCredit has been the most active player in CEE’s corporate bond market. In 2020, total issuance in CEE reached EUR125 bn through approximately 300 bonds, matching the level achieved in 2012 (EUR127 bn).
ESG loans and bonds got off to a strong start in 2021: UniCredit managed transactions for almost EUR9 bn (as of 1Q21) in loans to corporates, institutions and individuals such as green mortgages. UniCredit recently issued its first green bond (worth EUR1 bn) which was very well received by the market.
“ESG transactions are still just a fraction of the overall volume in capital markets. But they are growing very fast. Europe is a front runner in the green wave,” Bisagni concluded. “The social dimension is gaining momentum too, especially during the post-COVID recovery. The next two years will confirm these trends.”
UniCredit hosted a panel discussion on “Sustainable Finance – how to create a win-win situation in CEE”, with Roberta Marracino, Head of Group ESG Strategy & Impact Banking, the EBRD, and Russian Railways, and moderated by UniCredit’s Head of CEE FIG, Marko Vukadinovic.
Marracino underlined UniCredit’s track record as a pioneer and innovator from the start of the sustainable finance market in 2007, and how it is now taking a leading role in accompanying clients in a holistic role, helping them manage their strategic challenges, navigate the transition, and steer financial transactions in the shift to ESG priorities.
“Our Sustainable Advisory Team closed some important deals in the CEE region for clients such as Russian Railways, Sovscom bank, and SID Bank. UniCredit is partnering with clients to help them see opportunities on the business side. There is no bigger opportunity than ESG in the market right now,” Marracino concluded.