LONDON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - World Bank-linked International Finance Facility for Immunisation Co. (IFFIm) is expecting to raise up to $500 million on global bond markets this year, board chairman Rene Karsenti said on Thursday.
Established in 2006, IFFIm has raised more than $5 billion to date from capital markets to finance projects for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), a non-profit body which provides vaccines to children around the globe.
“The requirements this year will be less than last year, so most likely you will see us with some targeted issues rather than large benchmarks,” Karsenti told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of an investment conference in London.
No decision has been made on maturities and timing, but issuing in dollars was an attractive option, he added.
“Dollar has been a good market for us, and an efficient market for us, and has the advantage of raising money in the (currency) we are providing to GAVI because vaccines are paid in dollars so that avoids some currency hedges.”
In 2014, IFFIm - whose treasurer is the World Bank - also issued its debut sukuk, or Islamic bond. The $500 million issue attracted bids of $700 million and helped IFFIm diversify its investor base and raise GAVI’s profile among Muslim-majority countries. Yet a repeat was not immediately on the cards.
“In 2015 my expectation is that from a cashflow point of view we will not be large enough for a (sukuk) transaction, so we are looking at next year,” said Karsenti, who is also president of the International Capital Market Association.
IFFIm is backed by nine sovereign donors including Britain and France, and rated AA by Standard & Poor‘s.
GAVI has provided vaccines to about 500 million children worldwide and saved 7 million lives from diseases like pneumonia, hepatitis B, diarrhoea and measles, working with the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, the World Bank and charities. (Reporting By Karin Strohecker; editing by Susan Thomas)