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Clarke Willmott acts for housing group in groundbreaking deal

We have acted for affordable housing provider Valleys to Coast Housing Limited in negotiating a £35m loan from bLEND Funding Plc.

The deal is the first social bond issued by bLEND since launching its social bond framework in May and represents its lowest ever margin.

Our team was led by Fraser MacRae who acted on the funding alongside Danielle Bowen and Vicky Kells who is dealing with security alongside Charlotte Lord.

Fraser MacRae, partner and social housing specialist, said: “We are delighted to have worked with Valleys to Coast Housing to secure such a fantastic deal.

An initial loan of £25m was drawn with the remaining £10m to proceed on a deferred basis within 12 months. The loan will mature in 2054.

The funding will allow our client to refinance existing debt and support their general social housing work across Bridgend, South Wales.

The loan was funded by bLEND issuing notes via a medium term note programme and on-lending the proceeds raised from issuing those notes to Valleys to Coast Housing Limited.

The pricing of the loan was based on a spread over gilts of 108 basis points, which is the lowest achieved by bLEND to date, achieving an “all-in” rate of 2.45%.

The loan will ultimately be secured by legal charges over tenanted properties owned by Valleys to Coast Limited with such security expected to be in place by July.

Valleys to Coast CEO Joanne Oak said the loan was a great achievement for the organisation. “Through strategic partnerships, we have secured long-term sustainable finance to support and deliver our 10-year ambitions laid out in our Corporate Plan. This will allow us to carry on providing affordable, high-quality social housing – and above all, creating homes and places where our customers feel happy and safe.

Valleys to Coast Housing is a not-for-profit organisation providing and managing over 5,000 homes in the Bridgend area. They also provide management services to leasehold flats and manage shops, other non-residential properties and garages.


Your key contacts

Vicky Kells

Partner/Head of Cardiff Office

Vicky is head of our Cardiff office and jointly leads our Social Housing sector team and specialises in charging affordable housing portfolios.
View profile for Vicky Kells >

Fraser MacRae


Fraser represents both lenders and borrowers on secured and unsecured financing and advises on a mixture of loan agreements, note purchase agreements and other funding structures together with associated security documentation and intercreditor arrangements.
View profile for Fraser MacRae >

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