Legal & General (L&G) has agreed a GBP51 million, 10 year debt facility to the LNT Group, the parent company to Ideal Carehomes, an owner and operator of care homes across the UK.
Used to refinance its existing bank debt finance, the loan will release capital to support the LNT Group’s strategic growth plans, including its aim to build between six and eight new care homes a year, which would create approximately 500 jobs per annum.
The loan is secured against a portfolio of mature care homes, providing strong cashflow cover and asset protection, and is believed to be the first time that tailored bilateral institutional debt finance has been provided to the care home sector.
Ideal Carehomes currently operates 36 homes across the UK, working closely alongside local authority partners. Whilst the LNT Group has more than 25 years’ experience in designing, developing and operating residential homes for the elderly, the entire portfolio has been developed since 2009. Varying between 41 and 64 beds, all of its schemes are purpose-built and designed from the inside out to provide the best environment for the delivery of quality care, ensuring future care requirements and expectations are met.
Matching its long-dated pension and annuity liabilities with risk adjusted returns, whilst also supporting UK economic growth, this deal forms part of L&G’s larger UK housing and infrastructure investment strategy. One of the six UK insurers committed to investing GBP25 billion in the UK by 2018, as a long-term provider of investment capital it has invested over GBP5.5 billion in UK infrastructure projects to date, including affordable housing, residential regeneration and student accommodation.
Laura Mason, director of direct investments at Legal & General Capital, says: “L&G is a natural provider of longer term financing given its long term annuity liabilities. We are therefore extremely pleased to have been able to work with the LNT Group, providing the stable financing that clearly benefits a sector such as this and which traditional markets are now less likely to be able to provide.”
Lawrence Tomlinson, chairman of the LNT Group, says: “Having taken time to gather a strong understanding of our business model and develop a partnership for the future, we are confident that L&G share the LNT Group’s long term vision and ambitions. We were particularly impressed with L&G’s knowledge of the sector and ability to structure terms that are tailored to our maturing business. Supporting our future growth, the long term facility not only gives the LNT Group stability but also releases necessary capital to underpin development opportunities and job creation. It is wonderful to see L&G expanding in this market and supporting British business in this vital sector. We are really looking forward to developing the relationship further.”
Alex Gipson, lending manager at Legal & General, adds: “With a high quality portfolio of care homes running at strong occupancy levels and providing affordable prices for all, the LNT Group has a maturing yet proven business model that we believe responds to the long term care needs of the UK. At a time when development of new homes is struggling to keep pace with both demographics and increasing quality requirements quite rightly being demanded by residents and their families, we are delighted to play a role supporting LNT’s much needed continued investment.”
Earlier this year, L&G announced that it has agreed to forward fund and purchase five high quality care homes in Suffolk with Care UK for GBP31 million. The deal also follows on from L&G’s acquisition of a portfolio of 13 care homes let to Methodist Care Homes for GBP70 million at the end of last year.