Landmark Investments has raised more than £70m of new debt so far in 2020 as it seeks to drive expansion and growth over the next 12 months.
As reported in Property Week, we will use the debt to increase its portfolio of residential and commercial ground rents, taking on larger and more complex opportunities.
Now in our 20th anniversary year, over the past five years we have been growing fast and have seen the size of our portfolio increase eight-fold in value.
This expansion has recently been boosted by the completion of a complex ground rent portfolio of more than 1,800 residential and commercial properties across 418 separate sites and three million square feet of industrial estates, mills, medical centres, retail parks and car parking across hundreds of acres of land in Bolton.
The economic uncertainty created by the Coronavirus crisis and the national lockdown has done nothing to dampen our appetite for growth, with the record debt raise topping the total amount we had secured over the previous five years.
Nor has the prospect of Britain’s sharpest recession for more than 100 years affected lenders view of Landmark Investments with the firm securing £55.85m of debt, almost 80% of the £71m total, since Britain’s national lockdown was announced on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2020.
£45m of the debt financing secured by Landmark so far in 2020 is on ultra-long 50-year terms. None of the debt raised has come from CBILs (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans) or is supported by the Government. All of the debt is from a mix of high street and institutional lenders, including over £25m from Santander UK.
Mark Hawthorn, CEO of Landmark Group, said:
“To secure more than £55m since the start of lockdown and £71.1m this year demonstrates lenders’ belief in our business and is a huge testament to the performance of our team during this most challenging of times. We are seen as trustworthy borrowers and purchasers and investing during times of perceived uncertainty is not new to us. We started investing in ground rents in 2004 before most knew what they were and continued to invest when the market paused in 2008 for the global credit crunch.
This experience has stood us in good stead and meant it was perfectly normal for us to continue performing for vendors throughout lockdown. Our lenders are firmly onside, demonstrated by the fact that the majority of our 2020 raise was initiated during lockdown without any Government or similar artificial support. The profile of our debt and the appetite for our asset class is now at an institutional level where almost infinite pools of capital are available. The economy and property markets will continue to experience unpredictability, so it gives me great confidence to continue with our plans knowing that we have this financial support.
Our appetite for growth is voracious, and we continue to agree attractive new investments on almost a daily basis. We enjoy a well-earned reputation as straightforward and reliable investors which are especially attractive traits to developers and agents in the current climate. The ultra-long nature of our 50-year debt term further reinforces the robustness of our balance sheet and offers our lending partners a profile unavailable in other asset classes.”
Commenting on this acquisition, Patrick Sheehan (Commercial Real Estate partner at law firm TLT LLP) who led for Landmark, said:
“We are delighted to have supported Landmark with its record debt raise. Our long-standing relationship with Landmark gives us a great understanding of their business and aims and allows us to work closely with them on complex transactions. The diligence and commitment from both sides allowed this deal to be completed smoothly, despite current market circumstances and very short timescales. Additionally, our unique contract lifecycle management solution allowed us to work efficiently and quickly for the benefit of all parties. We look forward to working with Landmark as they continue to seek new opportunities for growth.”
Matt Jones, Director, Real Estate Finance, Santander Corporate & Commercial Banking also said:
“Landmark has ambitious plans for growth and a proven track record of investment, even during uncertainty. We have been delighted to support them with this funding and to continue to grow our relationship.”
“We will consider any type of residential ground rent and work with our clients to structure the transaction that works best for them.”