Winckworth Sherwood LLP’s Housing Finance team acted for Longhurst Group in securing the funder consents required to consolidate its Group into a single Registered Provider (RP). Longhurst provides 22,500 homes across the Midlands and East of England. The group consolidation completed on 1 July. Previously, the RPs in the Group structure consisted of four separate RPs (Axiom Housing Association Limited, Friendship Care and Housing Limited, Longhurst & Havelok Homes Limited and Spire Homes (LG) Limited), held under the parent entity, Longhurst Group Limited. The Group’s development entity, Keystone Developments (LG) Limited, as well as its two Libra Treasury funding vehicles, will continue to be separate entities within the Longhurst Group.
WS advised on a number of stages throughout this transaction. This included providing initial structural advice on the restructure and steps to achieve it, as well as analysis of the Group’s loan portfolio to identify the funders consents required. A further key stage was to arrange for Spire Homes to convert from a company limited by guarantee to a community benefit society, in advance of the main Group consolidation. The conversion itself required a number of funder consents, as well as liaising with the Bond Trustee under Longhurst’s two existing Bonds, in particular to arrange for Spire to release a floating charge shortly after its conversion. For the main group consolidation, further funder consents were required, as well as amendment and restatements of several of the Group’s existing facility agreements.
Louise Leaver, Partner and Head of Housing Finance at Winckworth Sherwood, said: “We were delighted to act for Longhurst on this transaction, which should streamline the financial arrangements within the group. This consolidation follows a number of transactions that the WS Finance Team has been pleased to advise Longhurst on, including its £250m Bond issuance in 2018 and the funder consents required for the Group’s merger with Axiom in 2017.”
The Finance team also worked closely with the Group’s other advisors, both legal advisors and financial advisors (Savills Consultants).