French Development Bank SFIL Pulls Bond Sale Amid Election Angst

(Bloomberg) -- A French public development bank has delayed the sale of a green bond after a week that saw the country’s government debt tumble ahead of upcoming elections.

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SFIL SA postponed the offering of a green bond on Friday, without giving a specific reason, according to a person familiar with the matter. The delay was due to volatility in the French market, said another person with knowledge of the offering, asking not to be identified as the matter was private.

A day earlier, SFIL had mandated six banks to arrange the sale of a five-year note, with the aim of raising at least €500 million ($535 million). The postponement comes in a volatile period for French bonds due to fears that Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party will usher in looser fiscal policies if it wins the coming legislative election.

French President Emmanuel Macron called a snap vote last Sunday after his party suffered a heavy defeat in European parliamentary elections. That sparked a bond selloff, with the yield premium investors demand to hold French 10-year bonds over Germany climbing to as much as 76 basis points on Friday, the most since 2017.

SFIL is fully owned by the state and refinances loans offered to local governments and public hospitals, with the green bond offering planned to fund renewable energy and urban transport projects. It looks forward to re-engaging with investors in the near future, according to the person familiar with the bond offering.

SFIL did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Bloomberg News. Bookrunners on the offering were Barclays Plc, Credit Agricole CIB, La Banque Postale, Morgan Stanley, Natixis SA and Societe Generale SA. Natixis and La Banque Postale declined to comment, while the other banks did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

--With assistance from Tiffany Tsoi.

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