2021 was a busy period, as we’ve supported our clients in emerging from the pandemic and in making major investments in key areas of the economy. We’re proud to have been able to have this UK-wide impact with a relatively small team of skilled specialists. We foresee continued growth, particularly driven by the low carbon transition, and are looking to grow and expand our Edinburgh-based team.
In 2021 we advised on financing projects with a total value of over £1 billion across student accommodation, build to rent, retirement living, energy and renewables, and the wider energy transition. Key highlights include:
- Delivering finance and operating partners for more than 3,000 bedspaces of student accommodation for universities; including:
- 676 beds for London School of Economics and Political Science (£143m)
- 1,262 beds for the University of Essex (£113m)
- 500 low carbon new-build bedspaces and refurbishment of 730 beds for the University of Birmingham (£157m)
- Debt finance for Universities:
- Advice on the first sustainable private placement by a UK university (£125m for King’s College, London).
- £70m private placement for Sheffield Hallam University with Pricoa.
- £250m joint venture between Osborne Developments and PGIM for investment in the “Build to Rent” housing market in South East England
- Acquisition of a £200m pipeline of retirement living units for John Laing from McCarthy Stone;
- Advice on various renewable energy projects; including:
- over 500MW of onshore wind projects;
- 9 low-carbon district heating projects, with a combined value of £160m;
- Sale of a 4.5MW combined heat and power (CHP) anaerobic digestion plant from Downing to BioCapital.
QMPF has financially closed four major student accommodation projects with Universities since the outbreak of COVID-19, with the most recent 3 projects providing over 3000 beds of new or refurbished accommodation for the growing student population with an investment value of over £400m. These projects demonstrate the resilience of the student accommodation market as well as the ability of Universities to successfully navigate the additional challenges arising from the pandemic and to continue to deliver investment in their campuses, further enhancing their student offering.
Our recent transactions in Build to Rent and Retirement Living recognise their increasing prominence in the UK investment market fuelled by the demand for housing and an ageing population respectively. These sectors provide investors with asset-backed and inflation-protected income in sectors with growing demand. We are seeing further activity in these sectors and continue to advise on a range of transactions.
In energy and renewables, we continue to see an evolving market and an increased focus from investors and large energy users on carbon reduction. In 2021 this was of particular relevance with the UK hosting COP26 in Glasgow. QMPF has advised on many aspects of the energy transition, including detailed financial advice on low carbon district heating projects with clients such as Aberdeen City Council, the University of St Andrews and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. We continue to advise communities in Scotland via Local Energy Scotland, delivering the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (“CARES”), which supports communities investing in renewable energy projects in Scotland.
We have also begun to see increasing activity in onshore renewables, and have advised on the potential acquisition of onshore wind portfolios totalling over 500MW; and assets in the biogas and solar sectors. We continue to be actively involved in providing support for the forthcoming Contract for Difference (CfD) Allocation auction.
We are pleased to announce two senior promotions in our energy team – Andrew Wilkinson to Partner, Andrew Dougans to Director.
QMPF is a leading independent corporate finance advisor focused on the education, energy and low carbon, infrastructure and real estate sectors. We are distinguished by the depth of experience of our professional team, long-term client relationships, and consistent, successful results.
We advise both public and private sector clients on structuring and valuing projects and investments, providing commercial advice, arranging funding and advising on M&A transactions, restructuring and business cases.
In the last five years we have advised on projects with a transaction value of more than £5bn and have been recognised at various industry award events.
Links to further project details:
QMPF is delighted to have supported John Laing in this £200m deal which represents its first entry to the retirement living sector in the UK. John Laing is partnering with McCarthy Stone, the UK’s leading developer and manager of retirement communities, and creating a platform for growth, acquiring purpose-built and let retirement living units managed by McCarthy Stone. Over the first 12 months, the platform will acquire 650 high-quality and geographically diverse units.
This partnership supports the supply of essential and sustainable infrastructure, offering residents independence and a sense of community with the increased flexibility of a rental model and is in line with John Laing’s strategy of investing in platforms which are asset-backed, scalable and offer long-term, resilient cash flows with positive social impact.
Build to Rent – Joint Venture with Osborne and PGIM
In early December 2021, Osborne Developments announced it had agreed a joint venture with PGIM Real Estate to invest £250m in the build-to-rent sector.
QMPF advised Osborne on approaching the market for a suitable partner and is delighted that this new vehicle will allow Osborne to deliver new residential development at scale.
This transaction follows from QMPF’s recent advice on BRIGID and continues to develop QMPF’s advice in the residential property sector. QMPF continues to provide strategic and financial modelling support to Osborne as it looks to acquire suitable sites and develop new schemes.