United Trust Bank (UTB) has completed a £10.9m investment term loan for an existing customer affected by the Covid-19 lockdown.
Rosewall Properties Limited, which typically acquires properties – in this instance a redundant office block – adds value via planning enhancements, before converting/developing and then retains the completed scheme in its substantial rental portfolio.
This development of 45 new apartments in Greater London was completed at the outset of the coronavirus outbreak resulting in what could be an open-ended delay to the letting process and income generation.
Rosewall Properties approached UTB’s structured finance division at the onset of the lockdown with a view to refinancing an existing development loan on to a longer-term investment facility and release equity from the company’s latest project back into new commercial investment opportunities. The Bank’s structured finance division has completed in the region of £40m of loans to support new and existing customers with similar requirements since the lockdown began.
Despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 lockdown, UTB’s structured finance team was able to complete a flexible hybrid solution giving the customer additional breathing space to find tenants and a competitive interest rate reducing when the apartments are let and income is generated.
Lahrie Mohamed, director of Rosewall Properties Limited, said: “The timing of the pandemic lockdown couldn’t have come at a worse time for us. We are an agile and innovative company, so the situation didn’t slow us down too much. The hardest thing was trying to find a lender with the same attributes. The uncertain climate and challenging operational conditions saw lenders drop like flies and the marketplace for refinancing shrank overnight.
“Fortunately, Gerard and the team at UTB take a different approach. They looked for reasons to work with us rather than reasons not to. They found ways to overcome obstacles created by the lockdown restrictions and quickly came up with a flexible and competitive solution which met our requirements. In these uncertain times it’s refreshing to find a lender willing to go the extra mile and deliver on its promises.”
Gerard Morgan Jackson, head of UTB’s structured finance division, added: “With the current situation creating a host of problems for lenders and borrowers alike, it would be easy to put things on hold or use the current circumstances as a reason to delay completions until the future is clearer. Rather than follow the herd, we chose to back our client and to complete a substantial investment facility for them, working through issues created by the pandemic.
“There are few lenders that would take on a newly completed development on a five-year investment basis in the current climate. In this instance we quickly got to know the business and we took great comfort in Rosewall Properties’ excellent track record and abilities. Being able to source and complete a facility like this during lockdown shows just how innovative, tenacious and customer driven UTB are. We have confidence in our clients and will support them through all weathers.”