Trowers & Hamlins advises Aster Group on major capital markets issue


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International law firm Trowers & Hamlins has advised the Aster Group on the establishment of its £1 billion medium term note programme and first issue under the programme of £250 million of Sustainability Notes.

The Aster Group has established a £1 billion medium term note programme (MTNP) and has completed its first note issue thereunder at an all in cost of 1.4%. It is Aster Group's first major capital markets issue since 2013. The deal marks only the third ever sustainability bond issued by a housing association and sees Aster join a growing group of associations accessing the capital markets through this type of programme which will enable them to issue further notes more quickly than the more traditional bond issue.

Aster owns and manages over 30,000 homes across the south of England. The investment secured will be deployed to support Aster's development target of providing 10,000 affordable homes across the south of England over the next seven years in accordance with Aster's Framework for Sustainable Finance. This has been drafted in alignment with the ICMA's Green Bond Principles, Social Bond Principles and Sustainability Bond Guidelines and the Loan Markets Association's Green Loan Principles.

Trowers' Partner, Sarah Gooden and Associate, Jonathan Grosvenor advised in relation to the finance aspects of the MTNP establishment and first note issue, including advising on the structure of the security trust and negotiating the programme documentation.

Sarah said:

"The Trowers' team are delighted to have assisted the Aster Group on their first MTN programme  and sustainability bond issue and to see such positive recognition from investors in respect of Aster's sustainable finance strategy and strong ESG credentials. It is a real achievement and another triumph for RPs increasingly looking to attract investment in the sustainability space. The investment will have a significant impact on the provision of energy efficient affordable homes across the south of England and we are privileged to have supported Aster on their funding strategy."

Managing Associate, Jessica Church, led on the property security aspects of the project assisted by Associate, Sarah Cross. A significant property due diligence exercise was carried out on approximately 4,000 properties across the south of England. Trowers' Real Estate Finance Security team worked closely with Aster's in-house charging team to successfully provide the required security for the bond within the required MTNP timescale.

Barclays and Lloyds acted as bookrunners.

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