Client stories

Places for People highlights strong ESG credentials

Making places where community comes first

Places for People build and manage homes in communities where everyone feels welcome and can thrive. Currently more than 200,000 homes are under management across England, Wales, and Scotland. Through strategic partnerships and joint ventures, Places for People also delivers large scale regeneration and development projects across the UK.

As one of the UK’s largest property management, development and leisure businesses, the 12,000 employees of the group work hard to ensure the company’s products and services make a positive impact on people, places, and the planet. In 2013, Places for People published its first Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report, followed by its first ESG report in 2020. The group’s 2021 ESG report aligns with the Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing of which Places for People is an early adopter.

In 2021, the company published its Sustainable Finance Framework, which focuses on Affordable Housing, Green Buildings and Energy Efficiency. imug provided the Second Party Opinion (SPO), confirming that the framework aligns with the relevant International Capital Markets Association and Loan Markets Association principles and that it contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) No 1 “No Poverty”,  No 7 “Affordable and Clean Energy”,  No 11 “Sustainable Cities and Communities”, and No 13 “Climate Action”. Places for People has also been awarded the Certified Sustainable Housing Label (CSHL) by specialist consultancy RITTERWALD. 

Strong investor demand for debut allows upsizing and pricing at tighter end

Following the publication of their newly established Sustainable Finance Framework, Places for People were looking to issue their inaugural unsecured Sustainability bond with an expected size of around £250 million and a tenor between 12 to 16 years.

With a clear set of objectives for this transaction - to lengthen the company’s maturity profile and to lock in the attractive rates on offer for intermediate unsecured bond financing - Places for People asked NatWest to support with the issuance in the roles of Active Bookrunner, Billing & Delivery, and Joint ESG Structuring Agent.

Given Places for People had not issued a Sterling benchmark transaction since 2017, a two-day roadshow process was adopted, which included a global investor call and a series of one-to-one meetings with key Sterling investors. This provided Places for People the platform to engage with over 40 investors and outline the group’s ambitious sustainability strategy as well as update on the strength of its credit story.

Based on investor feedback, Places for People announced a 14-year £250 million Sustainability Bond to the market which attracted strong demand from the outset. After the order book peaked at £720 million, the deal team tightened the price considerably and upsized the transaction to £300 million.

Investors also welcomed that Places for People set an ambitious lookback period of only 12 months for the allocation of the bond proceeds.

Funding to help deliver positive social and environmental impact

George Flynn, Debt & Financing Solutions, NatWest, commented: “We are delighted to have been able to support Places for People with their inaugural Sustainability Bond, and we are very pleased that investors gave their vote of confidence for our customer’s ambitious ESG strategy. This transaction also shows the depth of the Sterling market despite a busy start to the year, and the tenor and size achievable for sustainable debt.”

Dean Shahfar, Debt & Financing Solutions, NatWest, commented: “It was a pleasure to support Places for People in achieving their successful capital markets transaction, which will enable the provision of safe, comfortable, energy efficient homes for their tenants long into the future. Together, their ESG strategy, the comprehensive disclosure provided in the course of this offering, and their ambitious intentions on how proceeds will be used was evident in the strong investor response – setting a high standard for issuance from the sector.”

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