BLP advises Amber Consortium on Priority Schools Building Programme Aggregator funding

International law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has advised the Amber Consortium on the closing of the third of five privately financed batches of schools pursuant to the Aggregator vehicle platform. The £100 million deal is part of the Priority School Building Programme’s (PSPB) “Aggregator”  platform using the Government’s PF2 funding model.

This financing brings the total number of £100 million plus deals closed by BLP for the Amber Consortium (comprising Amber Infrastructure, International Public Partnerships and Aviva Investors) to three in the last few weeks. A final two batches of funding remain to be completed later this year pursuant to the programme.

The project uses a unique financing model based upon the establishment of a funding vehicle known as the ‘Aggregator’ – a key feature of which is to aggregate total financing requirements across all five schools batches.

This third tranche of funding will support the development, by the Morgan Sindall and Equitix consortium, of  five new secondary schools and seven new primary schools on existing or new sites in the North West of England. Pursuant to the Aggregator platform, Aviva Investors and the European Investment Bank provide senior debt and International Public Partnerships  provides mezzanine debt. The Aggregator senior debt has been rated “A-“ by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services.

Commenting on the deal, BLP Head of Projects & Infrastructure, Mark Richards said: “To close three deals in excess of £100 million in three weeks is a huge achievement and is something almost unheard of in such a short timeframe. We have worked tirelessly on behalf of our client to deliver this successful conclusion and it has been a real cross-practice effort from all at BLP. This financing project still has significant tranches to be completed and whilst we’re delighted to have closed this part, our focus remains on ensuring a successful conclusion to the rest of the deal.”

Prashanth Satyadeva, a partner in the Structured Debt & Capital Markets Group at BLP, adds “Tranched capital structures using structured finance techniques is becoming more prevalent in the European PPP market and the successful bid structure for the Aggregator platform provides value-for-money co-lending by banks and institutional investors for construction risk and without any refinancing needs”.

The cross-practice BLP team was led by Mark Richards and Structured Debt & Capital Markets Partner Prashanth Satyadeva, with support from Finance Partner Robert Gross alongside the wider team. Ashursts represented the Department for Education, Eversheds represented the Morgan Sindall and Equitix consortium and Allen & Overy represented the EIB.

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