S&P Global Ratings has assigned an ‘A’ Standard & Poor’s underlying rating (SPUR) with a stable outlook to a £98.2 million debt issuance by ULiving@Essex Ltd. (ProjectCo), the entity created to build and manage student accommodation at the University of Essex.
S&P Global’s SPUR rating reflects the accommodation’s lack of construction risk and high occupancy rates since its completion in 2013. The outlook is supported by a growing demand for accommodation at the University of Essex, a lack of competing student housing in the vicinity of the campus, and the university’s commitment to provide somewhere to live to all first-year and international students.
The issue, which will refinance all existing senior debt, has also been issued an ‘AA’ long-term insured rating that reflects the unconditional payment guarantee of scheduled interest and principal provided by Assured Guaranty. S&P Global finds that this issue, among other recent issues, shows an increasing demand for UK long-dated project bonds, which may be partly driven by financial guarantees and investors’ rising interest in longer maturities.