University of Essex refinance student accommodation project issuing £98.2m of bonds

The bond issue refinances student halls of residence at the University of Essex’s Colchester Campus delivering a substantial refinancing gain to the University.

The 41 year RPI linked bonds are rated AA by S&P, benefiting from a guarantee by Assured Guaranty, and were placed by TradeRisks with Pension Insurance Corporation plc as the sole investor.

The project sponsor, Uliving, was established in 2009 to develop student accommodation projects in partnership with universities. The bonds will refinance a project that has been operational since 2013 and consists of two buildings on the University’s Colchester Campus, providing a total of 1,429 student rooms.

Director of Finance at the University of Essex Andrew Keeble said: “The University of Essex is pleased to have worked closely with ULiving on this refinancing which underpins our continuing commitment to providing high quality residential accommodation for our students.”

Ben Fry, Managing Director of TradeRisks, said: "This transaction highlights the extremely advantageous financing conditions for student accommodation projects in this very low rate environment. We are pleased to have supported the University of Essex and the sponsors with this refinancing which provides further funds for the University to invest in their core estate.”

Elizabeth Cain, Debt Origination Analyst at Pension Insurance Corporation, said: “As a fast growing, specialist life insurance company with pension liabilities stretching out decades into the future, long dated inflation linked assets work very well to help us match these cash-flows. As such, we are delighted to have been able to invest directly in these bonds. We have been an active investor in the higher education space for a number of years and view it as a core sector, alongside social housing and other infrastructure debt.”

TradeRisks acted as arranger and dealer for the bond issue and was advised by Norton Rose LLP with CMS (legal) and Operis (financial) advising ProjectCo and Pinsent Masons (legal) and QMPF (financial) advising University of Essex.

For further information please contact Ben Fry on 020 7382 0918 or