£450 MILLION SUSTAINABILITY-LINKED REVOLVING CREDIT FACILITY
Unite Students, the UK's leading owner, manager and developer of student accommodation, announces that it has agreed and signed a £450 million sustainability-linked unsecured revolving credit facility (“RCF”) from HSBC, NatWest and Royal Bank of Canada. The facility has an initial term of three and a half years, which may be extended by a maximum of a further two years at Unite’s request, subject to lender consent.
The RCF incorporates three sustainability-linked performance targets which align with our sustainability strategy, launched earlier this year. These include annual targets based on:
- Supporting the group’s transition to net zero carbon by 2030, through reduction in scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions for operational buildings;
- Improvements in the EPC ratings of properties in England and Wales with a target of all properties reaching at least C rating by 2027; and
- The value of Unite’s contributions to social initiatives aimed at improving access to post-18 education, enhancing employment prospects for graduates and benefiting local communities.
Unite’s performance against the sustainability performance targets will be verified by an independent external reviewer and published in the Group’s annual report. Dependent on performance against the targets, there will be a 2.5bps premium or reduction to the base margin. Unite will seek to allocate any margin savings to social initiatives which benefit young people and the communities in which we operate.
The RCF is our first sustainability-linked loan and follows the publication of the Group’s sustainable finance framework in April 2021. Future loans by the Group are expected to include similar sustainability-linked features.
The RCF is fully available for general corporate purposes and is an amendment and extension of the Group's existing bank debt facilities, which were due to mature in November 2022. The refinancing extends the Group’s earliest debt maturity to 2025 and increases its weighted average debt maturity by 0.3 years to 5.0 years.
HSBC Bank plc acted as Sustainability Coordinator and Documentation Coordinator for the RCF.
Joe Lister, Chief Financial Officer of Unite Students, commented:
“Our first sustainability-linked loan is a significant milestone for our sustainability strategy. We have clear objectives to become a net zero carbon business by 2030, while delivering a positive social impact through our work with our employees, students and local communities. The performance targets further incentivise the Group to accelerate decarbonisation and improvements in energy efficiency and underline our growing commitment to social initiatives.”
For further information, please contact:
Joe Lister / Michael Burt Tel: +44 117 302 7005
Unite press office Tel: +44 117 450 6300
Justin Griffiths / Victoria Heslop Tel: +44 20 7250 1446
About Unite Students
Unite Students is the UK's largest owner, manager and developer of purpose-built student accommodation, serving the country's world-leading Higher Education sector. We provide homes to 73,000 students across 173 properties in 25 leading University towns and cities. We currently partner with over 60 Universities across the UK.
Our people are driven by a common purpose: to provide a 'Home for Success' for the students who live with us. Unite's accommodation is safe and secure, high quality and affordable. Students live predominantly in ensuite study bedrooms, with rents covering all bills, insurance, 24-hour security and high-speed Wi-Fi. We also hold a five-star British Safety Council audit rating.
Founded in 1991 in Bristol, Unite Group is an award-winning Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), listed on the London Stock Exchange and a member of the FTSE 250 Index. Unite is invested in and operates two specialist funds and joint ventures with institutional investment partners: the £3 billion Unite UK Student Accommodation Fund (USAF) and the £1 billion London Student Accommodation Vehicle (LSAV).
For more information, visit:
Unite's corporate website www.unite-group.co.uk
The student site www.unitestudents.com