Fromageries Bel, first group in the dairy industry, to contract an impact loan


Fromageries Bel, which has been strongly committed to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for more than ten years, has undertaken to deliver year-on-year improvements regarding Environmental & Social (E&S) strategic objectives.

Major player in the healthy snacks segment and iconic global leader in individual cheese portions (The Laughing Cow®, Babybel®, Kiri®, Leerdammer®, Boursin®…), Fromageries Bel, has chosen to turn its CSR policy into a model for sustainable growth, source of long-term value for the Company, its stakeholders and its ecosystem.

The Group has therefore restructured its CSR program including a strategic plan for 2025, based on 4 pillars: Sustainable farming, Caring nutrition, Environmental footprint and People well-being

In line with the Group's strategy, Fromageries Bel has decided to launch an Amend and Extend of its €520,000,000 syndicated Revolving Credit Facility (RCF) and with a view to benefit from improved pricing conditions, to reset the maturity to 5 years (+ 2 one year extensions) and to pioneer the opportunity to integrate E&S objectives, which belongs to its 2025 strategic plan, within the conditions of the amended facility.

Societe Generale has been mandated as E&S Coordinator of the amendment, as part of a syndicate of 10 bank groups, with BNP Paribas remaining Facility Agent. The key for the E&S coordination was for Societe Generale Corporate & Investment Banking to be able to involve all the competences needed for such a transaction:

  • The E&S expertise of the Impact Structuring and E&S Client advisory teams
  • The expertise related to the integration of E&S objectives through the regular application of the Equator Principles since 2007
  • The expertise of the Amend & Extend process with the Syndication team
  • The Coverage Banker's knowledge of the client.

We, as a bank, are proud to support Fromageries Bel, a key client for SocGen and a leader for sustainable best practices in the dairy industry. This green loan is the first one in the consumer food and beverage sector and as such is a landmark transaction. This success results from a deep dialogue we had built with Bel's own CSR teams.

Jean-Baptiste Giros,
Head of Client Relationship for France

Fromageries Bel has transposed its E&S objectives into E&S covenants that are integrated into the amended facility, to support the implementation of its CSR strategy and to incentivize the company to deliver year-on-year improvements in three of its Sustainability pillars.

Within the E&S Impact Loan, Fromageries Bel therefore commits, with the support of the Lenders, to:

  • Continually reducing its Greenhouse Gas emissions ratio;
  • Implementing each year a nutrition educational program in one of the countries where the Group is established,
  • Deploying a concrete action program for a sustainable dairy upstream sector.

Those commitments have been transposed into annual objectives that will be closely monitored during the lifetime of the facility: Fromageries Bel will communicate on those objectives in its Registration Document and the Group's statutory auditors will establish a certificate for the Lenders.

Our purpose to have a sustainable growth largely influences our decision-making process and for this reason we wanted to adapt our organization accordingly and to make CSR a core element of our DNA. This became more tangible thanks to Societe Generale, one of our key banking partners, which brought us enough expertise and support to make this credit facility.

Benoît Rousseau
Head of Treasury and Insurance at Bel Group

We are continuing to develop our financing offering that integrates environmental and social issues in order to support our clients committed to an ambitious CSR strategy. The BEL Group is a natural candidate that we wish to support in its long-term CSR strategy through a performance commitment defined in an annual calendar of objectives achieved in collaboration between the Bel Group's Sustainable Development teams and the structuring teams within SG CIB, whose expertise on Social and Environmental impacts is strong and well acknowledged.

Pierre Palmieri,
Head of Global Finance at SG CIB, and responsible for the « Sustainable & Positive Impact Finance » offering