The Bel Group has successfully signed a Sustainability-Linked Schuldschein Loan for an amount equivalent to 315 million euros

Bel, one of the world’s leading branded cheese companies and a major player in the healthy snacking segment, announces the successful completion of its multi-currency, multi-tranche Sustainability-Linked Schuldschein Loan for €195 million and $120 million with major European and international institutions. The mandated arrangers for this transaction are : Crédit Agricole CIB, Commerzbank, HSBC Trinkaus and Société Générale.

The transaction, which is based on extra-financial criteria in line with its Sustainability-Linked Financing Framework[1] published in October 2022, was largely oversubscribed, and at attractive financial terms, demonstrating the confidence of lenders in Bel’s financial and sustainable commitments.

Frédéric Médard, Bel’s Chief Impact Officer in charge of Finance and CSR, says: “Despite the strong pressure on the SSD market, Bel has successfully completed a Sustainability-Linked Schuldshein loan to pursue its sustainable and profitable growth momentum in the future. Thanks to a large number of European and international investors, this transaction was largely oversubscribed (€200 million announced versus €315 million in the end), with an average maturity of over 5 years. This demonstrates the confidence of our financial partners in the solidity of our Group’s financial structure and in its sustainable growth model, as well as the attractiveness of its development perspectives.”

This operation comprises several tranches:

  • 195 million: 3 years, 5 years, 7 years, 10 years and 12 years, either variable or fixed rate, and including 20 million Namensschuldverschreibung
  • 120 million: 3 years and 5 years, variable rate.

The loan will be used to cover the Group’s general needs and to support its growth.

This transaction is fully in line with Bel’s development model, which aims to combine financial performance with a positive impact on its ecosystem and the planet. This ambition echoes the Group’s mission: to offer healthier and more sustainable food for all.

The Sutainability-Linked Schuldschein Loan is based on the achievement of three objectives for maturities over 3 years:

  • Reduce Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions;
    • In 2021, the Group has decided to accelerate the reduction of its carbon footprint across its entire value chain to help limit global warming to below +1.5°C, a trajectory validated by the SBTi – Science-Based Targets Initiative – in March 22. As part of this global carbon commitment, Bel is committed to reducing its Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions (in absolute terms) by 75.6% by 2035.
  • Develop carbon diagnostics and action plans for dairy producers;
    • By the end of 2020, dairy purchases will account for 52% of the Group’s carbon emissions linked to the production of raw materials. The objective of carbon diagnostics is to identify, for each farm, the sources of emissions in order to implement specific action plans in collaboration with the producers.
  • Contribute to a healthier diet on its core brands for children and families;
    • Since 2017, Bel has developed a nutritional profiling system, Bel Nutri+, based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), which defines target levels for several key nutrients (protein, fat, saturated fatty acids, sodium, calcium and added sugars). The Group’s objective is to reach 83% of the “families with children” portfolio satisfying Bel Nutri+ criteria by 2028.

CMS advised the Borrower on French and German legal aspects.

The Group will report on the progress of its objectives in its annual report, which is examined by the auditors.

[1] Sustainability-Linked Financing Framework