Budapest Airport signs EUR 325 mln green financing deal

Transport

Image by Budapest Airport/Róbert Baranyi

Budapest Airport Zrt. has concluded its first ESG-based financing agreement, i.e. one that is responsible from an environmental, social, and corporate governance perspective, which is unique among airports not only in the region, but also in Europe, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

The EUR 325 million interest rate swap agreement concluded by Budapest Airport Zrt. has a term of 2.5 years. The company’s counterparties are BNP Paribas Hungary, which acted as coordinator and subscribed for EUR 200 mln, and Crédit Agricole CIB. Rothschild & Co acted as advisers, and assisted with preparation and implementation. The financial objective of the contracts is to swap interest rates, i.e. the variable interest rate on the company’s senior loans for a fixed rate, which will give the company predictability in its interest payments.

For Budapest Airport, the financial benefit of the agreement was a less important consideration than the long-term reference to the environmental performance of airport operations, according to the press release.

Chris Dinsdale, CEO of Budapest Airport, highlights, “With the newly signed, ESG-linked swap agreement, we have taken another step towards our goal of net-zero carbon emissions for the airport by 2035. Over the past 10 years, Budapest Airport halved its direct carbon emissions and cut its emissions per passenger to a third of what it was. As part of this agreement, we have committed, amongst other things, to meeting our full electricity needs entirely from renewable sources, the airport operator will develop a solar power plant with a minimum capacity of 5 MW and will install at least 100 new electric charging stations at the airport.”

“My colleagues are constantly working to explore new opportunities to even further improve our social responsibility, in order to make sustainable decisions during the operation and financing of Budapest Airport,” he adds.

Budapest Airport joined the “NetZero by 2050” initiative of Airports Council International (ACI) in 2019, which is a commitment for the company to achieve net-zero carbon emissions from its operations by 2050 at the latest. However, the company recently announced that it is working hard to reduce its net emissions to zero by no later than 2035, up to 15 years earlier than the current 2050 target date.

At the end of November, the airport operator was awarded ACI’s “3+” carbon neutrality rating for the fourth time and remains one of only 43 European airports that have achieved carbon neutrality and operate responsibly, in an environmentally conscious manner, fully offsetting the carbon emissions from its operations and thus meeting the strict requirements of the carbon neutrality level. In the new forms of financing, Budapest Airport has also pledged to achieve ACI’s maximum level 4+ carbon neutrality certification by the end of 2023, which currently only nine airports hold worldwide.

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