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Balfour Beatty secures finance for £120m Sussex campus scheme

3 Apr 17 Balfour Beatty has reached financial close on a deal with the University of Sussex for a new student accommodation project.

Artist's impression
Artist's impression

The financing of the £120m East Slope Residences project represents the largest UK wrapped inflation linked bond since the 2008 financial crisis.

Balfour Beatty was appointed as preferred bidder for a project to build bedrooms for 2,117 students on campus back in January 2015 and since then, alongside the university, has been working on detailed planning consent.

The development also includes a new students’ union building.

Balfour Beatty will invest equity of close to £23m (80% of the project equity) and will design, build, and operate the new residences for 50 years with the university acting as a co-shareholder investing £5.7m (20% of the equity).

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University of Sussex finance director Allan Spencer said: “We are delighted at the response of investors to the university’s long term strategy and the funding structure developed with Balfour Beatty. The bond allows the East Slope Residences project to proceed and facilitates a key element of the university’s strategy to accommodate more students on our campus and to provide high quality residences with more social space and amenities.”

Balfour Beatty Investments director Ian Woosey said: “We believe the fact that a bond of this size was able to achieve such attractive pricing demonstrates the underlying strength of the sector. We look forward to providing the additional high-quality residences for the students at the University of Sussex, whilst maintaining the character of the natural landscape of the campus on the edge of the South Downs National Park.”

The first phase of additional accommodation is expected to be ready for the start of the 2018/19 academic year.

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