Assured Guaranty wraps up first UK PFI bonds since 2008

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Assured Guaranty wraps up first UK PFI bonds since 2008

Assured Guaranty Ltd. announced that it is to provide a financial guarantee for a £100 million bond issue for the sustainable communities for Leeds consortium to finance the redevelopment of the Little London, Beeston Hill and Holbeck area in Leeds.

The publicly listed bond financing was announced to the market on June 21 and was due to price at the end of June.

The consortium, appointed as Preferred Bidder by Leeds City Council, sc4L, includes Equitix, SWIP Infrastructure Funds and Keepmoat and is project managed by Sweett Group. The consortium will fund debt service based on housing availability and receive related UK Private Finance Initiative credits from the UK government.

Lloyds is leading the publicly-listed bonds.

As the financial guarantor, AGE guarantees timely payment of scheduled principal and interest to bondholders, throughout the 19-year life of the bond.

The Little London, Beeston Hill and Holbeck social housing project includes the refurbishment of 1,248 homes plus external works to 51 leaseholders and construction of 388 new homes. Thiswill create an improved community estate with family housing, together with new parks andplay areasclose to the centre of Leeds.

The project was originally awarded in October 2011 but it suffered several delays because the sponsors were not able to reach financial close. In February 2013, Leeds City Council said that "with very little notice", the government has advised the council to ask sc4L to seek improved value for money through alternative long term funding options.

Sweett Group has pulled of the project as an investor because its new strategy includes pulling back from PFI investments. Sweet will continue to provide services to the schemes.

Source: Assured Guaranty & others

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