The 15-year bond, which was four times oversubscribed, will be used to develop new energy efficient homes for affordable and social rent and shared ownership. The listed bond was issued under Aster Group's new Euro Medium Term Note (EMTN) Programme on which Pinsent Masons also advised.
Commenting on the deal, Alexis Hayworth, legal director at Pinsent Masons, said:
"We are delighted to have advised on Aster Group's inaugural sustainability bond and to have demonstrated our bond expertise and ESG capabilities on a landmark transaction of this nature.
"We can expect to see more housing associations embrace sustainability bonds. Against increasing pressure to mitigate climate change and to meet the Paris Agreement goals, we are seeing issuers and investors seek opportunities to demonstrate their sustainable credentials. Social housing is a natural arena for sustainable initiatives, perfectly aligning social objectives of delivering affordable housing with the development of energy efficient homes."
Chris Benn, group finance director at Aster Group, said:
“Investors are increasingly seeking to fund businesses that operate in an ethical way and help to build a better society. This bond gives us further funding for our green affordable programme, so we can provide more of the homes required to meet the UK’s housing need – particularly in our south of England heartland, one of the most expensive housing markets in Britain.
“We’re very pleased to secure such competitive pricing and attract new investors to Aster to support our drive to be a more sustainable business. The bond proceeds complement our funding from other sources that together make up our diversified and prudent funding strategy.”
Pinsent Masons' team was led by social housing bond finance expert Alexis Hayworth, supported by social housing finance associate Sophie Al-Mahdawie and trainee solicitor Yannis Gavriel. Property advice was provided by partner Stephen Brown and associate Ruth Stead. The note trustee and security trustee were advised by head of structured finance and partner Edward Sunderland and senior associate Seána Donaghy.