LONDON, United Kingdom — Burberry Group Plc is offering a touch of luxury to ethical investors.
The trench-coat maker intends to sell a sterling sustainability bond, as the socially responsible debt market increasingly grows beyond utilities, banks and governments. Calls about the five-year deal start on Thursday, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorised to speak about it.
Burberry has highlighted a focus on corporate responsibility, including animal welfare and sustainable cotton farming, as it seeks to win over socially conscious consumers and investors. The planned bond sale also comes as the UK company starts to get over the worst effects of the coronavirus crisis, which caused sales to fall by almost half and prompted 500 job cuts worldwide.
The company has repaid a £300 million ($388 million) banking facility, which it drew down at the height of the virus crisis, it said in a statement announcing its first-ever bond sale. The strength of its brand, a strong presence in China and “robust” liquidity also meant that Moody’s Investors Service Inc. gave the planned notes an investment-grade Baa2 rating.
Burberry’s score reflects “the global high awareness of its brand, balanced geographic diversification, and conservative financial policies,” Moody’s Vice President David Beadle, said in a statement.
Globally, the fashion industry is focusing more on the environment and sustainability amid consumer and regulatory pressure. An EU official called textiles the “new plastic” when it comes to trash earlier this year.
Companies in the industry have tapped ethical investors to help pay for projects. Prada SpA raised a sustainability-linked loan last year, while Timberland maker VF Corp. has sold green bonds. Luxury-carmaker Daimler AG also made a green-bond debut this month, following a German sovereign sale, while Orange SA will price €500 million ($588 million) of sustainable bonds today.
By Lyubov Pronina.