Bouygues and Equitix, together the Uliving consortium, have successfully reached financial close on their third student accommodation project at the University of Essex.  ‘The Pastures’ will see the development of a further 1,262 student beds on the University’s Colchester campus, following on from the Meadows & Quays and Copse schemes.

The Pastures project is funded by £113m of index-linked and fixed rate senior bonds which have been purchased by UK institutional investors.  The bonds are listed on The International Stock Exchange, Guernsey.  Assured Guaranty provides a guarantee of scheduled interest and principal payments, by virtue of which the bonds will be rated AA by S&P.

Bouygues UK will act as building contractor for the accommodation, which is to be delivered in September 2023 and has been designed to achieve BREEAM ‘Very Good’ certification.  Bouygues Energies & Services will provide facilities management services under a 50 year contract covering the operational phase, with Equitix Management Services providing SPV management services.

Operis acted as sole financial advisor to Uliving.  This role included the management of the senior debt process, including running a funding competition to identify best value offers from bond investors, and the development of a financial structure that would allow the project to achieve the required credit rating profile.

Operis previously advised:

  • Uliving@Essex Limited, the project company for the Meadows & Quays project, on the refinancing of its senior debt in 2017; and
  • Uliving@Essex2 Limited, the project company for the Copse project, on its primary financing, also in 2017.

Operis Director Chris Aldred said: “We are delighted to follow up on our work on the two previous phases of accommodation at the University of Essex with the exciting new Pastures scheme.  While it has been a challenging environment in which to bring the project to close, the strength and experience of the parties and the robust financial structure have combined to deliver a really positive outcome for all.”

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Erwan Fournis
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