EcoBonds sell out as Ecotricity raises £10million

16 December 2010

Ecobond Image

- Innovative new financial instrument oversubscribed by 50% -

Britons have seized the opportunity to get involved in a pioneering new type of ethical bond - investing in Britain’s Green Energy future.

EcoBonds, issued by the UK’s leading green electricity company - Ecotricity, were launched in October this year with the aim of securing up to £10 million of funding to help advance the rate at which it can build its new Green Energy projects; principally Wind and Sun Farms.

By the offer deadline of the 10th of December, more than 1,800 people had between them applied for almost £15million worth of EcoBonds, making it oversubscribed by nearly 50%, and easily the most successful private bond ever issued in the UK. The previous largest was £3.6m, issued by Hotel Chocolat earlier this year.

Ecotricity set out to make EcoBonds accessible to as many people as possible, and following feedback from its customers this resulted in a minimum investment of £500 and an initial term of four years. Ecotricity also offered a preferential rate to its customers – 7.5% as opposed to the 7% for non customers (itself a decent rate). Applications received ranged from £500 to £500,000.

Everyone who applied for EcoBonds will receive the minimum £500. Ecotricity customers will receive approximately 80% of the sum they applied for above this amount, and all other applicants will receive approximately 50% of any sum applied for above the £500.  In doing this, Ecotricity has given priority to its customers and chosen to pay more interest than it otherwise needed to.

As a result, approximately £7.2million of the £10million raised will come from Ecotricity customers. The remaining £2.8million will come from other applicants.

And Ecotricity is gearing up to put money from its EcoBonds straight to work, with construction of the UK’s very first Sun Park starting in the next few weeks.

Dale Vince OBE, Ecotricity founder, said:

“The success of our first EcoBond is an enormous endorsement of our work and our mission and it’s a great encouragement to have so many people keen to join us. Oversubscribing is both good and bad of course; it’s great to have such enthusiasm for our EcoBonds concept, but then again it means we have to disappoint someone (which we never like to do) – and we have to give back nearly £5million.

“In deciding how to allocate EcoBonds we’ve put our customers first, and chosen to pay the extra half percent, gladly - but at the same time we’ve managed to not send anyone away empty-handed, which was very important to us.  We’re grateful for all the applications we’re received and sorry not to be able to meet demand in full.  It’s been a difficult balancing act but we think we’ve got it right.

“EcoBonds are about offering ordinary people - customers and non-customers alike - the opportunity to share in the benefits of the Green Energy revolution and to help them cut out the middle men - the big banks who, post credit crunch, are offering people a poor rate of return while charging companies like us much higher ones.  With this massive oversubscription we’ve clearly found considerable support for this radical new approach.  And in the process we appear to have created a new way to speed up the rate of Green Energy building in the UK – this has the potential to really enhance our work.”

As a ‘not-for-dividend’ company with no shareholders to answer to (or pay), Ecotricity already puts the money from its customers’ bills back into building more new sources of renewable energy. By doing this since it started in 1995, Ecotricity now has 51 windmills at 15 wind parks across Britain, which together generate 52MW of green electricity, enough for the equivalent of 39,000 homes per year.

Ecotricity has planning consent for a further 12 windmills with 78 more at various stages in the planning process, which together would almost treble Ecotricity’s electricity generation capacity.

Because of its popularity, Ecotricity is already considering another bond issue in 2011 for those who were unable to invest this time round, or would like to do so again.

Ecotricity was founded in Stroud 15 years’ ago as the world’s first green electricity company. It now employs 180 people and supplies 44,000 homes and businesses in the UK with Green Electricity from its fleet of 51 windmills and with Green Gas. Ecotricity is the only energy supplier supported by Oxfam and the Soil Association.

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Notes to Editors

The total value of applications received by 10 December 2010 was £14.3m.

Contacts:

Ecotricity

Mike Cheshire    +44 1453 769 373

Citigate Dewe Rogerson

Chris Gardner / Lucie Holloway   +44 20 7638 9571

Greenhouse PR

Sophie Rivett-Carnac   +44 7855 834 430

About Ecotricity

Ecotricity is one of the UK’s leading independent green energy companies and suppliers of electricity to homes, outside of the UK’s “Big Six” electricity suppliers. Ecotricity develops and operates wind parks and is a licensed retailer of electricity to businesses and domestic users. Ecotricity has invested an average of £387 per customer per year for the last six years in building new sources of green energy. That’s more than ten times the spend of any other UK energy company

Ecotricity has achieved an annual compounded growth rate of 14.7% in turnover since 30 April 2008 and its total assets as at 30 April 2010 amounted to £106.4 million. Ecotricity has made significant investment in online customer registration and billing systems and the implementation of SAP, and is well positioned to grow to meet its target of supplying over 500,000 customers within the next ten years.


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