abrdn has invested £31m on behalf of its strategic partner Phoenix Group in the refinancing of CORE Portfolio Investments Limited (“CORE”), a 36MW portfolio of ground mounted solar assets located in south and west England and Wales. The financing was arranged by Finance Earth, the UK’s leading environmental impact investment advisor and lead advisor to CORE.
CORE is a £50 million social investment partnership structured by Finance Earth, with investment from Big Society Capital and charitable trust Power to Change. CORE was established to acquire operational solar farms with the principal objective of turning these into community owned assets. CORE’s mission is to support the acquisition, restructuring and optimisation of community energy assets, whilst working to maximise the collective environmental, social and financial benefits for local communities where the assets are based. Since 2018, CORE has provided £300k of funding to support charitable and local community projects with grants.
Seven of the eight sites within the portfolio receive guaranteed income through the FiT* or ROC** schemes. The innovative financing also includes an unsubsidised site, supported by attractive PPA offtake agreements.
abrdn is providing RPI-linked debt, fully amortising over a 15-year tenor. The structure also includes a comprehensive ESG reporting package enabling measurement of the future impact of the portfolio and ensuring alignment with future SFDR and UK taxonomy reporting. This landmark transaction injects long-term institutional financing into the community renewable energy sector, and represents an important milestone for the community energy industry.
CORE was advised by Finance Earth (corporate finance) and Burges Salmon (legal); abrdn was advised by Osborne Clarke (legal), Mazars (tax and model audit), Gallagher (insurance), and Everoze (technical).
Alex Campbell, Investment Director, Infrastructure Debt commented: “We are pleased to have worked with Finance Earth to structure and execute a transaction that supports CORE’s unique community offering. The investment was made on behalf of our strategic client, Phoenix Group, which will support them with secured, long-term, inflation-linked cash flows they need to support their future liability obligations. The measurable social impact of the CORE portfolio is central to our investment thesis.”
Rich Speak, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Finance Earth, added: “We are very pleased to have worked with abrdn to complete the refinancing of the CORE portfolio. We believe the facility has been secured at an attractive rate and optimises the capital structure of the Fund and its underlying projects abilities to generate surplus community profits”
*The Feed-in Tariffs (FIT) scheme is a government programme designed to promote the uptake of renewable and low-carbon electricity generation technologies.
**The Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme in England and Wales supports the generation of renewable electricity. It operates as a market-based mechanism through a system of tradable green certificates called Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs)
Debbie Cowe, Media Relations Manager, abrdn
+44 (0) 7711 774017
Notes to editors
At abrdn, we enable our clients to plan, save and invest for their futures.
We structure our business into three areas – and together they reflect our focus on enabling our clients to be better investors:
Across our investments, adviser and personal businesses we manage and administer £542 billion of assets for our clients, and abrdn plc has over 1 million shareholders. (Figures as at 31 December 2021)
Our investments are built on an insight strength that comes from multi-layered research and a large global footprint. Our teams collaborate across multiple capabilities, to create forward-thinking solutions that aim to meet our clients’ needs and deliver more sustainable outcomes. Our investments business manages £464 billion on behalf of individuals, governments, pension funds, insurers, companies, charities and foundations (as at 31 December 2021) – with support and expertise from 800 investment specialists in over 30 locations.
abrdn is the single global brand for all areas of our business. In July 2021 our plc listing became abrdn plc. In September our investments business, formerly Aberdeen Standard Investments, became abrdn.
About Phoenix Group
We are the UK’s largest long-term savings and retirement business, with £300bn of assets under administration and c.13 million customers.
We are a growing and sustainable business with a clear purpose – helping people secure a life of possibilities. This means taking responsible and sustainable investment decisions, and using our presence and voice to advocate on behalf of the UK’s savers. We understand that our scale and expertise means that we have an important role to play for our customers, colleagues and our communities.
As life expectancy continues to increase and the pension landscape continues to shift, we will continue to be a safe and dependable ally in the journey to and through retirement for millions of customers, by providing the right guidance and products, at the right time, to support the right choices. We offer a broad range of products for people across all stages of the savings life cycle.
Our strategy focuses on delivering long term, sustainable value and, to fulfil our purpose, focuses on five key areas to ensure we respond to changing customer needs, manage our capital position well, create value, inspire our people, and put sustainability at the heart of our business.
We are a FTSE 100 company and we feature in the FTSE 100 ESG Select Index. In 2020 we committed to our operations being net zero carbon by 2025 and our investment portfolios by 2050. We are playing an active role in helping to build back better and greener as we invest for the future. We are a Living Wage Employer and recognised as a Carer Positive Exemplary for offering the best support to colleagues who are carers.
For Professional Investors only
The value of investments, and the income from them, can go down as well as up and you may get back less than the amount invested. Past performance is not a guide to future results. Tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each investor and may be subject to change in the future. We recommend that you seek financial advice prior to making an investment decision.
The details contained here are for information purposes only and should not be considered as an offer, investment recommendation, or solicitation to deal in any investments or funds and does not constitute investment research, investment recommendation or investment advice in any jurisdiction. Any research or analysis used to derive, or in relation to, the above information has been procured by us for our own use, without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any specific investor, and may have been acted on for own purpose. No warranty is given as to the accuracy, adequacy or completeness of the information contained in this communication and no liability for errors or omissions in such information. Readers must make assessments to the relevance, accuracy and adequacies of the information contained in this communication and make independent investigations, as they may consider necessary or appropriate for the purpose of such assessments. Any opinion or estimate contained in this communication, are made on a general basis. No information contained herein constitutes investment, tax, legal or any other advice, or an invitation to apply for securities in any jurisdiction where such an offer or invitation is unlawful, or in which the person making such an offer is not qualified to do so.
Issued in the UK by abrdn Investment Management Limited which is registered in Scotland (SC123321) at 1 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2LL and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK.