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Sun King and Citi Close First $130 Million Securitisation to Broaden Access to Finance for Off-Grid Solar in Kenya

30th May 2023

A customer using mobile money to pay for his Sun King EasyBuy solar home system

The scalable loan instrument, arranged and structured by Citi with participation from leading development finance institutions and commercial lenders, helps expand Kenyans’ access to finance to purchase green, affordable solar systems.

Sun King and Citi have established a first-of-its-kind, bank-led and entirely Kenyan-Shilling-denominated $130 million sustainable securitisation transaction. The transaction leverages Sun King’s existing and future Kenyan customers’ payments for solar products to raise funding for further growth and expansion.

Arranged by Citi and supported by leading development finance institutions and commercial lenders from six countries across the globe, the investment paves the way for future African securitisation deals and diversifies funding for Kenya’s off-grid solar energy sector. Through the proposed transaction, customers’ future payments for solar products bought on credit will be securitised and funded by investors.

Approximately three out of every ten Kenyans live without access to electricity. Many off-grid households devote 5 to 10% of their income to dim, smoky kerosene lanterns or smog-emitting gas generators for light and power. Solar energy offers clean and reliable energy as well as long-term cost savings for homes and businesses, but the upfront equipment cost blocks many Kenyan consumers from transitioning to solar energy.

Sun King designs, distributes, installs and finances solar energy solutions for African and Asian households and businesses who cannot access, rely on or afford traditional electric grid connections. Sun King customers can purchase products using the company’s technology-enabled, pay-as-you-go “Easy Buy” financing service, which breaks payments down into regular, affordable instalments. These payments can be made via mobile money or cash for as little as $0.15 a day. Approximately half of Sun King’s registered pay-as-you-go customers in Kenya are women, the majority of whom access formal financing products for the first time.

Under the securitisation structure, investors are financing the pooled expected future payments from over a million Sun King customers. The structure connects unbanked or underbanked customers to the finance they require to purchase solar assets and provides investors with access to a steady yet underserved market that offers risk-diversified returns.

“Over one billion people live off the reliable electric grid. This number is projected to rise. This securitisation could be key to unlocking the extensive capital needed to fund solar energy initiatives at the scale the climate crisis requires. We applaud Citi for orchestrating this innovative transaction. These trailblazing financial mechanisms can convert the global challenges of energy access, social development and climate action into compelling investment opportunities.” Commented Sun King’s Co-Founder, Anish Thakkar.

Sun King is raising the securitisation funds using its Sustainable Financing Framework, which has received a Second Party Opinion (SPO) from Moody’s Investor Relations. The SPO assesses the framework with a Very Good Sustainable Quality Score (SQS) and highlights its significant contribution to sustainability.

The framework, facilitated by Citi, explains Sun King’s approach to integrating sustainability considerations into specific financial instruments, which facilitate enhanced access to clean energy and contribute to meeting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

This securitisation involves participations by both commercial and development finance institutions, including ABSA Kenya, British International Investment, Citi, FMO, Norfund, Standard Bank Kenya and the Trade and Development Bank. Citi served as the sole arranger, primary placement agent, security agent, facility agent, cash manager, sustainability structuring bank and secured accounts bank with Standard Bank Kenya acting as the co-placement agent.

Manolo Falco, Global Co-Head of Investment Banking, at Citi said “Sun King has been an important client for many years and we are pleased to be supporting them with this catalytic transaction. Our unrivalled global network and track record for delivering innovative sustainable finance solutions means we are expertly placed to build local sustainable financial infrastructure from the ground up. This first-of-its-kind deal originated from Citi’s Social Finance division, which supports socially conscious companies globally and was delivered in conjunction with our leading Financing and Securitisations team.”