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Clarke Willmott LLP Help Secure £37 Million Loan

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Lawyers at Cardiff firm Clarke Willmott LLP have helped secure a £37 million loan for Cardiff Community Housing Association (CCHA). The loan was secured at a record low all-in rate of 1.932% with bLEND plc, meaning long-term interest rate security and a strong financial platform to provide much needed affordable housing across Cardiff.

Clarke Willmott advised CCHA on loan documentation and property security. Partner Fraser MacRae, who negotiated the banking and loan documentation, said: “We are really happy to start 2021 having supported Cardiff Community Housing Association in this transaction. Both the loan documentation and property security work were turned around very quickly, showcasing our multi-disciplined team’s dedication and efficiency.”

Vicky Kells, partner and joint head of the social housing sector at Clarke Willmott, added: “By working closely with CCHA we identified a security portfolio to meet the required timescale for bLEND’s successful bond tap.  This demonstrates our commitment to building strong working relationships with our clients and adding value through our sector experience and know-how.

“This deal comes hot on the heels of several other transactions we are proud to be a part of in Wales. For example, we recently advised Cadwyn Housing Association on securing a £41m, 35-year, private placement and £21m revolving credit facility. We also helped RHA secure a £30m private placement and £5m revolving credit facility in a debt restructure, advising on the property security elements and bank financing.”

The CCHA deal means the organisation has delivered on its new treasury management strategy and has streamlined its treasury portfolio. The low rate achieved also gives CCHA the financial headroom to continue to deliver great services and support current tenants and the wider community.

With a spread of 115 bps over Gilts means the bond issuance for Cardiff Community Housing Association was the lowest ever achieved by bLEND funding PLC. With significant market interest, the issuance was five times over-subscribed, leading to a very competitive rate being achieved.

Brian Pickett, Corporate Director, Central Services, CCHA said: “We are delighted with the rate achieved on this transaction. Our access into the bLEND and its associated market leading rates allows us to refinance some of our current facilities and fund new affordable homes. The housing crisis in Cardiff grows more acute and our ability to develop new affordable homes means we can provide vital places for families to call a long-term home.”

Independent financial services group, Centrus, assisted in the strategy development which led to the application for bLEND funding while property valuation work to secure the finance was completed by Adrian Shippey of Savills.

Clarke Willmott is a national law firm with offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Southampton and Taunton.

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