Assura announces pricing of first ‘Sustainability Bond’

Specialist primary care REIT Assura plc has announced the pricing of its ‘Sustainability Bond’ – the first issued under its Sustainable Finance Framework, which is focused on the funding and refinance of green and social projects.

The Sterling-denominated senior unsecured bond of £300m has a tenor of 12 years and will bear interest at a rate of 1.625 per cent per annum.

It will be issued by Assura Financing plc and guaranteed by Assura and a number of the group’s subsidiaries.

Following the issuance of the Bond, Assura’s weighted average debt maturity will increase from 8.0 years to 8.7 years and the pro forma weighted average cost of debt will reduce to 2.3%.

The company said a series of investor meetings had generated strong institutional demand for the Bond, which will raise funds specifically for the acquisition, development and refurbishment of publicly accessible primary care and community healthcare centres with green building certification.

Assura Group chief finance officer Jayne Cottam said:‘This is our first Sustainability Bond, following on from the Social Bond we issued in 2020, and has been met with a strong level of support from bond investors.

‘We want to make a real difference through the spaces we create and manage. Our social impact strategy, SixBySix, aims to maximise our contribution to society and minimise our impact on the environment. The issuance of our first Sustainability Bond fits naturally with SixBySix with the proceeds being used to fund eligible green and social projects.’

Fitch Ratings Limited currently assigns Assura an investment grade rating of A- (stable outlook) and is expected to assign the Bond an investment grade rating of A-.

HSBC Bank plc and JP Morgan Securities plc acted as joint active bookrunners. Barclays Bank PLC, NatWest Markets plc, Banco Santander, SA and Stifel Nicolaus Europe Limited acted as passive bookrunners. Assura was advised on the bond and credit rating by Rothschild & Co.