Funding to support new build plan
BlackRock injects £100m into Wheatley
BlackRock Real Assets debt investment into Wheatley Group is only the second time it has injected loan funds to a social housing organisation.
As such it is seen as a huge vote of confidence in the sector.
The money will be used to add 3,500 social and mid-market rent homes to Wheatley’s stock of 83,000 which it owns or manages.
The deal comes just days after Wheatley’s financial outlook was revised upward by S&P Global Ratings from ‘negative’ to ‘stable’, while retaining its A+ credit rating for its £300 million public bond, issued in November 2014.
Wheatley chairman Alastair MacNish said: “This new funding will enable us to press ahead with supplying thousands of new affordable homes and to continue delivering excellent services to the 200,000 people we work for across Scotland.”
Chief executive Martin Armstrong (pictured) hailed the deal as another huge vote of confidence in Wheatley and the social housing sector in Scotland. “We are continuing to combine the size and scale of the partner organisations within Wheatley to make a major contribution to addressing the shortage of affordable housing in Scotland.”
In the past two years, Wheatley has completed new-build developments across the central belt.
Jonathan Stevens, head of European Infrastructure Debt at BlackRock, said: “This transaction is our second investment in the UK social housing sector.
“The provision of social housing is an essential service, and housing in Scotland and the rest of the UK is in short supply.
“We hope our investment makes a genuine contribution towards addressing this issue, while also providing our clients with an inherently stable, long-term cash-generating asset.”
In January BlackRock Real Assets also closed a debt investment providing long-term financing to Trafford Housing Trust in Manchester.