The government has agreed in-principle to allow Golden Tree Co Ltd (GT) to list an approximately $3 million “green bond” on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) that has been certified as compliant with ASEAN standards, through an issuance which CSX officials have said could be carried out as early as next month.

The Council of the Non-Banking Financial Services Authority (NBFSA) gave the in-principle nod to GT on October 12, a week after the CSX did the same. The company must now complete a set of formal issuance procedures, as specified by the Securities and Exchange Regulator of Cambodia (SERC).

The SERC commented in a statement that the green bond would be the first of its kind in the Kingdom, and described GT as a veteran in areas such as commercial office space rental, building management and real estate consulting.

CSX CEO Hong Sok Hour told The Post last week that the green bond is planned to carry a coupon rate of seven per cent and a tenor of five years. He also suggested that the debt security could be issued as soon as November.

According to SERC director-general Sou Socheat, the green bond’s compliance with ASEAN standards and other eligibility requirements has been certified by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Socheat told The Post on October 16 that the NBFSA’s decision paves the way for GT to proceed with the listing process, which he pointed out requires the company to issue notifications of key dates.

“The issuance of green bonds represents the next step in the development of our securities sector, which means that, from now on, we will not only have ordinary bonds, but also green ones that are in line with ASEAN principles.

“Once listed on the bourse, the company will receive the ASEAN Green Bond Label, promoting its name throughout ASEAN,” he said in the statement, opining that the firm would be better able to persuade foreign players to invest in its future projects, or in the green sector in general.

On October 8, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, awarded Cambodia’s first EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) green-building certification for commercial office projects to Phnom Penh’s VTrust Tower, which is owned by GT.

Speaking during the handover ceremony, GT executive vice-president Judy Tan stated that the international certification was a testament to her company’s dedication in aligning with the government in cutting CO2 emissions.

“Beyond environmental stewardship, GT is further committed to [the] ESG [environmental, social and governance] standard. We would like to do more, keep on improving ESG issues that we and the industry as a whole are currently facing.

“We believe this initiative would help us design and implement long-term, sustainable policies that are able to support GT’s growth and strengthen our competitive advantages in term of improvement in risk management, service quality and excellence in operation for our tenants, teammates, partners and all stakeholders. ” she said.