Mills & Reeve advises social housing group on £250m sustainable bond

Leading national law firm Mills & Reeve supported Flagship Group in issuing its debut £250 million sustainable bond, with a 40-year term at 1.875% coupon.

Having successfully issued the bond in July 2021, Flagship Group will use the proceeds to help achieve its long-term goal of tackling the housing crisis in the East of England. Work will include constructing new social and affordable homes, financing transformational estate projects, and investing in existing homes to improve their EPC ratings.

Mills & Reeve advised Flagship as issuer on the bond documentation and helped navigate the process. To fit the market, the team had to move fast and so achieve such a good coupon on a very long-term debt when the pricing was extremely competitive.

David Armstrong, chief financial officer at the Group said: “We are absolutely delighted with the extremely successful result for the Group, locking in historically low rates for the long term. This is another big step forward for Flagship, establishing ourselves in the sterling bond market where we aim to be a regular issuer.”

ESG (environmental, social and governance) finance, like this bond, has seen a surge in popularity in 2021, according to Frances Churchard, partner at Mills & Reeve: “It’s not only multinational corporates who are working to improve their long-term sustainability with the right finance. This deal is a fantastic example of a not-for-profit organisation capitalising on market demand for sustainable debt and so raising funds for social and environmental projects.”

Barclays Bank and NatWest Markets were joint bookrunners on the deal and were advised by Addleshaw Goddard.

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