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JSW seeks innovative financing linked to ESG indicators

Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa, as the first in Poland and one of the first in Central and Eastern Europe in the mining sector, has the opportunity to raise innovative financing under the SLL (Sustainability Linked Loan) formula. This is the final element of a process that has been underway for several months to build a new financing structure that will enable the Company to continue to grow, with special focus on its climate transition.

photo: Dawid Lach

In total, the Company wants to raise financing of PLN 1.65 billion, expected to be provided on better terms than the existing financing structure JSW uses. If it succeeds at the time when the global trend is that financial institutions are reluctant to support the mining sector (the coal sector in particular) it will be a huge success for JSW. The purpose of the financing is to provide the entire JSW Group with financing for both current operations and for development, including environmental projects.

SLL financing

Sustainability Linked Loan financing is a modern and attractive form of corporate lending based on ESG goals - this means providing support for the Company's activities linked to specific sustainability indicators. The financing raised under this formula can be used for “green investments”, which JSW is already implementing as part of its ambitious Environmental Strategy adopted a year ago (the JSW Group has pledged to spend nearly PLN 4.5 billion on environmental goals by 2030). Money raised under the SLL formula will be able to be used, among other things, for the further development of the Commercial Utilization of Methane Program (which is of great importance in the context of the planned European Parliament regulation on reducing methane emissions) or for the planned construction of photovoltaic farms.

“Efforts to obtain a loan in the SLL formula are in line with the Environmental Strategy until 2030 adopted by the JSW Group, which assumes both the continuation of mining operations with the development of mines and includes the currently necessary aspect of responsibility for the Company's impact on the environment,” says Robert Ostrowski, Vice-President of the Management Board for Financial Matters. “Thanks to the financing under the SLL formula, our Company will not only be able to implement certain green transition activities over the next few years, but will generally be guided by sustainable development indicators in all aspects of its operations,” he adds.

Under the planned structure, in addition to financing environmental goals, the Company will be able to finance expenses related to investments in its core business and operations. Importantly, the funds made available in the revolving tranche by the financial institutions may but do not have to be used, providing a safety “buffer” for the Company (and can be utilized in the event of liquidity needs). This is very important for JSW, which operates in a cyclical market. This will help avoid situations such as the recent crisis in the coking coal and steel markets in 2020-21, when JSW's cash shortages reached PLN 4.5 billion.  They were covered by, among other things, the redemption of FIZ certificates in the amount of PLN 1.4 billion and the mobilization of loans and borrowings.

Some of the credit facilities are in foreign currencies (USD and EUR) which, with significant revenues coming from coal and coke sales precisely in these currencies, will reduce the cost of servicing.

After several months of negotiations with the financing entities, the terms of the new financing were agreed upon, i.e. lower margins, a long financing period, or a grace period. In addition, the new financing is expected to be three times higher than the previous one, with the same collateral.

The overriding goal of the financing is to ensure the entire JSW Group's stable operation and further development.

“Building a secure financing structure for assets is one of the important goals of the JSW Group's strategy, and obtaining long-term funding sources, including replacing the expiring credit facility with a new one, is a necessary condition for its implementation," says Robert Ostrowski, Vice-President of the Management Board for Financial Matters. ”Given the current good market situation, associated with high coal and coke prices, positively affecting the JSW Group's results, this is the best time to acquire a new financing structure, on more favorable terms. As the Management Board, we hope for a positive conclusion to this process, which will guarantee the Company's security of current operations and development until 2030. This is very important for JSW's shareholders, business partners and employees,” he adds.

The syndicate of banks and other financial institutions interested in providing SLL financing, on terms favorable to JSW, includes: Agencja Rozwoju Przemysłu S.A., Alior Bank S.A., Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego, Bank Polska Kasa Opieki S.A., Powszechna Kasa Oszczędności Bank Polski S.A., PZU S.A., PZU Życie S.A. and Towarzystwo Finansowe “Silesia” sp. z o.o. The syndicate's total declared commitment to JSW's financing will amount to approx. PLN 1,650 million. This amount, in addition to loans in PLN, includes a term loan denominated in USD and EUR for a total equivalent to PLN 480 million. The final date for repayment of the liabilities to the syndicate is set for 28 December 2030.

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