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Pinsent Masons advises the University of Sussex on £197 million student accommodation deal

International law firm Pinsent Masons has advised the University of Sussex on its East Slope Residences project, which has reached Financial Close.

The University and preferred bidder for the project, Balfour Beatty, raised £197m of finance through a wrapped inflation linked bond. This is the largest UK wrapped inflation linked bond issue both in the UK new build student accommodation market and since the 2008 financial crisis.

It will see the construction of 2,117 new bedrooms, a new building for the students’ union and a number of social facilities, with the first phase of additional accommodation expected to be completed for the start of the 2018/19 academic year.

Balfour Beatty will invest equity of circa £23m (80% of the project equity) and will design, build, and operate the new residences for 50 years. The University of Sussex will act as a co-shareholder investing £5.7m (20% of the equity). The bonds were wrapped by Assured Guaranty (Europe).

Partner Victoria Goddard and Senior Associate Chris Owens led the Pinsent Masons team that worked on the project. The team advised the University of Sussex on the procurement of the preferred bidder and the issuing of the bond through to financial close.

Owens commented: "We're very pleased to see this exciting deal reach Financial Close, following an excellent response from investors. The student accommodation market continues to grow in the UK and this is a good example of a deal where a variety of investors realised the strong fundamentals of the project."

Pinsent Masons has advised number of universities on student accommodation projects including most recently the University of Essex on the bond refinancing of its Meadows &  Quays project worth circa £98 million and the University of London on its £105 million Duncan House student accommodation development. 

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