DGHP strikes ground-breaking £114 million financing deal with M&G

Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership (“DGHP”) has secured £114 million of financing with M&G Investments as it progresses plans to build a strong future as part of Wheatley Group (“Wheatley”).

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Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership (“DGHP”) has secured £114 million of financing with M&G Investments as it progresses plans to build a strong future as part of Wheatley Group (“Wheatley”).The flexible loan facility allows DGHP to refinance existing bank debt which posed some constraints on its development and investment plans.

DGHP is the second largest Registered Social Landlord (“RSL”) in Scotland, owning and managing over 10,300 homes in Dumfries and Galloway in South-West Scotland. It became part of Wheatley, Scotland’s largest housing, care and property-management group, in December 2019 after its tenants voted overwhelmingly in favour of the partnership. Together the partners in the Group now provide affordable homes to over 62,000 households in Scotland, representing circa 11% of the total social housing stock in Scotland. Wheatley also property manages over 32,000 homes through its subsidiary YourPlace.

DGHP, as part of Wheatley Group, has ambitions to develop up to 1000 homes over the next five years. Agreeing this financing arrangement – the biggest investment by M&G in the Scottish social housing sector – will bring the housing association a step closer to realising this ambition.

The long-term investment, a weighted average of 25-years, was agreed by both parties working flexibly to a tight timescale.

DGHP Board Chairman, Bill Robertson, says: “This affordable loan facility is great news for tenants and communities in Dumfries and Galloway. Working as a partner in Wheatley allows us to do much more than we could before and this deal with M&G is one of the first steps in realising our plans to bring hundreds of new affordable homes to the region.”

Wheatley Group Chairman Alastair MacNish says: “We have an unyielding commitment to increasing the number of affordable homes in our communities at a time when the availability and supply of housing remains an acute priority. We are delighted DGHP has secured this fantastic deal with M&G which will enable them to take forward their new-build plans for the region. It’s a huge vote of confidence in DGHP and the region, in Wheatley Group and the affordable housing sector in Scotland.”

Mark Davie, Head of Social Housing, M&G Investments, says: “We are pleased to be supporting DGHP and Wheatley in the next step on their journey.  They have a clear vision and ambition to deliver affordable homes to those in the area they serve. Through its wider activities, Wheatley supports the social well-being of its communities in areas such as employment, tackling poverty, digital inclusion, education, sports and the arts. The deal demonstrates the important role institutional investors play in providing finance to organisations that have a positive impact on the communities they operate in and our wider society.

“This is a new relationship for us, our third financing agreement with a registered social landlord in Scotland and will generate cashflows that are secured against residential property for our pension fund investors.”

In recent years, non-bank lenders such as M&G have been providing an increasing amount of longer-term finance as banks withdraw from this market. M&G has around £6 billion invested in UK social housing through property transactions, public bonds and private placements.

Friday, February 07, 2020