A property giant which focuses on the science and technology sector has secured a £95m boost to help fund its future growth and investment strategy.
Bruntwood SciTech has received the sustainability-linked loan from NatWest, Lloyds Bank, Santander and HSBC UK which extends its existing £185m loan, which it agreed in 2019, to £280m.
Bruntwood SciTech, a 50:50 joint venture between Bruntwood and Legal & General, will use the funding to invest into the ongoing development of the UK’s largest single-site life science campus – Alderley Park; as well as Manchester Science Park, Platform in Leeds, and the commercial buildings at Circle Square in Manchester.
The funding will also be used to support new acquisitions, such as the recently announced 16.4-acre Melbourn Science Park in Cambridge, as well as the development of the Innovation Birmingham Campus and the newly-completed Citylabs 2.0, in Manchester, which is already fully let to global molecular diagnostics company QIAGEN for its Global Centre of Excellence for Precision Medicine.
The funding package will see Bruntwood SciTech continue to receive a discount on its cost of funding by agreeing to fulfil bespoke sustainability-linked covenants across a number of initiatives including waste and recycling, green energy procurement and a pledge to reduce the energy intensity of its portfolio by more than 10% over the lifetime of the loan.
Kate Lawlor, CEO – Bruntwood SciTech, said: “Our innovation clusters are powering the future of the UK knowledge economy, providing the environments and ecosystems that companies in the science and tech sector need to form, scale and grow.
“We’re continuing to see significant demand for our specialist workspaces and labs and this new funding agreement gives us the platform to accelerate our growth responsibly and sustainably and perfectly aligns with our pledge to be Net Zero Carbon by 2030.”
Andy Clarke, director at NatWest, added: “The funding provided by NatWest and the other banks will enable Bruntwood SciTech to continue to grow and expand its network of innovation districts in a way that is sustainable and environmentally-responsible as it drives forward the growth of the UK science and technology sector.”
Richard Butterfield, relationship director at Lloyds Bank, said: “As the UK looks to recover from the economic impact of the pandemic, high quality facilities for businesses operating in key growth areas such as the digital and life sciences sectors will be essential. Bruntwood SciTech continues to deliver these in abundance and we’re pleased to support its ambitious sites spread across the UK.
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“Equally, Bruntwood SciTech is playing an important role in driving the ESG agenda and we’ve welcomed the opportunity to support them as Sole Sustainability Coordinator on this transaction as it looks to further incentivise environmental performance through its funding strategy.”
Matt Jones, senior director, real estate finance, Santander UK, added: “Santander is delighted to be supporting Bruntwood SciTech with this latest funding, which will enable further growth and investment in the fast-moving science and technology sectors.
“We all have a part to play in supporting sustainable development and we look forward to working with Kate and the team at Bruntwood to positively contribute to the wider climate change agenda.
“Santander recently announced its ambition to achieve net-zero carbon emissions across the group by 2050, and we are committed to supporting our clients in their transition to a low-carbon economy.”
Bruntwood SciTech was advised by Addleshaw Goddard and the lenders were advised by Shoosmiths, with CBRE providing valuations.
Amy Davies, relationship director for Real Estate Finance, HSBC UK, said: “The work Bruntwood SciTech are doing to provide truly innovative workspaces will boost UK science and technology sectors for many years to come.
“Developing and advancing sustainable technologies is key to all of our futures, which is why we’re pleased to play our part in supporting businesses that are tackling these issues head on.”