BLP advises MEPC on restructuring, prepayment of £74.5m of £470m CMBS and new £53.6m loan from Eurohypo AG

Law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has advised MEPC, the developer and owner of eight business estates across the UK, on the restructuring of its Hillington Park entities and the prepayment of £74.5m of a £470m loan securitised via Opera Finance (MEPC) plc. The prepayment is part of a wider strategy to address the early repayment of the securitised loan before its maturity in July 2012.

In addition to the corporate restructuring, BLP advised MEPC in relation to the new borrowing of £53.6m from Eurohypo AG secured against Hillington Park.

The £470m Commercial Mortgage Backed Security (CMBS) loan, completed in November 2005 and arranged by Eurohypo AG, was originally secured against four of MEPC’s business parks: Milton Park in Oxfordshire; Birchwood Park in Warrington; Chineham Park in Basingstoke; and Hillington Park in Glasgow. The prepayment of £74.5m followed the prepayment on 20 January 2011 of £102m of the CMBS loan after the refinancing of Birchwood Park, another MEPC owned estate. 

Rick de Blaby, Chief Executive of MEPC said: “This early repayment of part of MEPC’s CMBS marks a second stage in our programme to address the refinancing of our portfolio ahead of maturity after the successful repayment of £102.5m in January. The new loan, again with Eurohypo, whose long term relationship we hugely value, reduces gearing and brings in further diversity to our overall debt position. It also underlines MEPC’s prudent debt strategy, the robustness of its income from quality assets and our overall desire to be positioned well for a new phase of activity and performance.”

BLP partner Kate Binedell, led the team advising on the transaction, assisted by David Christmas. Jo Solomon, assisted by Heather Morrison and Payam Yoseflavi, advised on the real estate finance arrangements; Neville Wright, assisted by Rosalind Muray, advised on the tax issues; James Duncan and Andrzej Janiszewski, advised on the securitisation and hedging elements; and Candice Blackwood advised on certain real estate aspects of the restructuring.

MEPC has a £1bn portfolio providing over 10m sq ft of high-quality space for nearly 1,000 organisations.

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