Lloyds Bank, NatWest and Bank of America have been named as the financiers of a £150m green finance facility announced earlier this month.
The £150m hire purchase asset finance package will be used to purchase 1,000 electric buses excluding their traction batteries, advancing First’s goal of making its fleet net zero by 2035.
Lloyds Bank has emerged as the central figure in the green finance effort, acting as the sole owner coordinator and green finance coordinator. The collaboration also sees NatWest and Bank of America playing integral roles as participants in the finance facility.
The finance package builds on FirstGroup’s previous environmental initiatives, including a joint venture with Hitachi in November 2023 for leasing electric bus batteries, and a £300m sustainability-linked loan in 2021 coordinated by Lloyds Bank. The latter was structured in alignment with the Loan Market Association’s Green Loan Principles, offering a financial incentive for FirstGroup to meet its environmental targets.
Rod Pirie, Group Treasurer at FirstGroup, says: “Sustainability and transport decarbonisation are central to everything we’re trying to achieve here at FirstGroup. The team at Lloyds Bank share the same commitment, and their ongoing support is a big boost in helping us to implement our plans and get closer to our net zero targets.”
Victoria Whitehead, Head of Infrastructure and Transport at Lloyds Bank, adds: “As a market leader, and with its coverage across the UK and Ireland, FirstGroup is perfectly placed to help drive greener transport across the UK and we’re proud to support them in its transition to net zero.”
In preparation for the electrification of its fleet, FirstGroup is on track to launch four fully electric depots by March in York, Norwich, Leicester, and Hampshire.