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Pension Corp, BlackRock team up to fund UK social housing

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Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC) and BlackRock have contributed to a £275m (€318.5m) financing for Trafford Housing Trust, a housing association in Greater Manchester.

The specialist insurer contributed £75m to the refinancing package, aimed at repayment of existing debt and further direct development.

The loan matures in three tranches in 2051, 2052, and 2056, matching the liabilities PIC has taken on from defined benefit schemes.

A spokeswoman for BlackRock said its debt investment was for £75m.

In a statement, the investment manager said its involvement – through its BlackRock Real Assets arm – brought a number of benefits for its institutional clients, including stable, long-term cash flows structured on investment-grade quality social housing income.

Jonathan Stevens, head of European infrastructure debt at BlackRock, said the financing provides an “excellent opportunity” to invest in UK social housing, providing clients with “an inherently stable, long-term cash flow profile”.

Trafford Housing also has a joint venture with L&Q, a London housing association, to develop 500 homes per year.

PIC has previously invested around £150m in social housing PFI bonds in Greater Manchester, funding the refurbishment of almost 2,500 dwellings in the city, the insurer said in a statement announcing the Trafford deal. It has also invested more than £600m in social housing around the UK “and expects a strong pipeline of transactions in 2017”, PIC said.

Elizabeth Cain, debt origination analyst at PIC, said: “We have ambitious plans to partner with housing associations in 2017 and beyond and look forward to further investments in the sector.”

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