Watford Community Housing completes £200m refinancing with Barclays debt deal

Watford Community Housing completes £200m refinancing with Barclays debt deal

Watford Community Housing has completed the final stage of a £200m refinancing exercise with a refinanced loan facility with Barclays. The overall impact is to increase the capacity of Watford Community Housing from £145m to £200m.

The capacity is from a mixed pool of funders — Barclays, M&G and AHF — which provides appropriate funding sources to support Watford Community Housing’s ambitious development programme. This is the result of a 12-month refinancing exercise for the housing association, which began in March 2017 with a £30m government-backed bond and recently included a £65m private placement with M&G. The final piece of the refinancing was to complete a revised debt deal with existing lender Barclays to provide £100m of capacity through a mixture of term loans and revolving credit facilities.

The refinancing process moves the housing association from being a Large Scale Voluntary Transfer (LSVT) organisation with a single £145m bank facility with Barclays to having a larger group structure with additional debt capacity — helping to ensure that Watford Community Housing will be able to achieve its business plan aspiration to have built 1,000 new homes by 2020.

Since its inception in 2007, Watford Community Housing has grown in terms of the number of homes it develops both directly and through joint ventures – most notably with Watford Borough Council (Hart Homes) and Three Rivers District Council (Three Rivers Homes). The refinancing deal will support the expanded group structure and allow for further growth in the future.

Andy Taylor, Director at Barclays Corporate Banking, said: “We have a strong and longstanding relationship with Watford Community Housing, and for Barclays to support the next stage of their evolution through arranging the private placement and restructuring the existing bank debt facility provided the funding solution Watford Community Housing’s business plan required, and underlines our ongoing commitment to the social housing sector in the UK.”

Watford Community Housing’s Group Director of Finance and Resources, Paul Richmond, added: “This refinancing deal gives us a range of facilities for the Group which is more appropriate for our financial ambitions. The overall refinance deal represents excellent value for Watford Community Housing. We are delighted to have agreed this deal and retained our relationship with Barclays, which gives us the additional capacity we need to develop much-needed affordable homes for our local community and beyond.”

Watford Community Housing was advised by JCRA and Devonshires on the refinancing exercise.

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