Homes in Grove Park

News release on Grove Park investment

Updated: 21 December 2021 at 15:25pm

Below is a joint news release issued today by Phoenix, Pension Insurance Corporation and Legal & General Investment Management.

Phoenix Community Housing, a not-for-profit resident-led housing association based in south east London, has completed a £100 million privately placed debt investment with Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), one of Europe’s largest asset managers, and Pension Insurance Corporation plc (PIC), a specialist insurer of defined benefit pension funds.

The proceeds are being used to fund the acquisition of over 1,500 homes in Grove Park, south east London, from L&Q, and the development of new homes through the Greater London Authority’s Affordable Homes Programme 2026.

The transaction was arranged by Barclays as sole placement agent. Chatham Financial advised the Association and the legal work was completed by Trowers and Hamlins and Morrison & Foerster for the Association and Greenberg Traurig and Addleshaw Goddard for the investors.  

Key points of the transaction:

  • Maturity profile tailored to match PIC’s pension liabilities in years where it is difficult to source cash flows in the public bond markets. PIC had previously supported the Association with a Private Placement in 2018
  • The £70 million of debt from LGIM is a sustainability linked issue which involves two coupon step down provisions linked to ambitious decarbonisation targets. If the ESG KPIs are not met within the pre-agreed timeline Phoenix must allocate the coupon savings towards energy efficiency works on their homes
  • An element of the funding was on a deferred drawdown to reduce the cost of carry for the borrower

Phoenix Community Housing is a not-for-profit resident-led housing association based in south east London which now owns and manages 7,800 homes in the boroughs of Lewisham and Bromley. The residents in Grove Park will now be able to join Phoenix as shareholding members with involvement opportunities up to Board level, where Phoenix’s rules state that the Chair and Vice Chair must be tenants.

Chris Starke, Finance Director at Phoenix Community Housing, said: “We are genuinely delighted to have been able to complete this transaction with LGIM and PIC, who have strong reputations within the social housing sector for innovation and flexibility in arranging funding.  The funding enabled us to complete the stock acquisition from L&Q, enabling Phoenix to grow its resident-led community gateway model, and to continue to deliver much needed new homes. The LGIM and PIC teams were proactive in helping us achieve our aims. We look forward to working with them as investment partners.”

Eugenia Korobova, debt origination manager at Pension Insurance Corporation, said: “We are delighted to have completed our second deal with Phoenix Community Housing, supporting an initiative that has the potential to transform thousands of lives, generating considerable social value. By investing in long-term social assets like Grove Park, PIC is proud to be able to help local communities with quality homes and new jobs, all while securing the pensions of our policyholders. The greater the social value of the assets and projects we invest in, the bigger the contribution they make towards paying the pensions of our policyholders in the decades to come.”

Anna Szypkowska, Investment Manager for LGIM Real Assets, said: “This is an important transaction for LGIM Real Assets, Phoenix Community Housing, and the housing association sector more broadly. We’re delighted to offer a structure which places decarbonisation at the centre of the investment allowing the Borrower to subsidise their energy efficiency works through the coupon savings.

"Legal & General is uniquely placed to invest annuity money into the UK economy, supporting its long-term pension commitments and creating real assets which provide jobs, housing, and spur economic activity. The fundamental need for good quality, affordable homes is more pronounced than ever. As a long term, socially and sustainably minded investor, we are delighted to bolster our commitment to the social housing sector, and investment in London boroughs, to accelerate the delivery of homes, increase their quality and affordability, and help tackle the housing crisis.”

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