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Press release - 20 April 2021
Press release - 20 April 2021
Virgin Money has agreed a new financing partnership with Gresham House – the bank’s largest transaction in the renewable sector to date.
This relationship will provide Gresham House Solar Distribution LLP (GHSD) with an £18mn revolving credit facility, through a flexible funding arrangement, to facilitate the growth of its solar assets.
In line with Virgin Money’s strategy to at least halve the carbon emissions across everything the bank finances by 2030, this is the bank’s first major step towards possessing a loan book comprising at least 5% in sustainable lending by FY22.
The Gresham House alternative investment fund has successfully raised more than £49mn from investors to date and currently owns eight operational ground-mounted solar parks in England and Wales.
With a total capacity of 48MW, the portfolio generates more than 45GWh of electricity per year – enough to supply more than 12,500 homes and save more than 20,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
The Virgin Money structured facility will offer a flexible and powerful solution to help Gresham House further grow its solar capabilities.
The Gresham House New Energy team has a proven track record in developing and operating onshore wind, solar PV, and energy storage, while Gresham House is focused on investing in transformative technologies and industries it believes will deliver strong financial returns alongside supporting the transition to a more sustainable world. The partnership with such a significant renewables investor further solidifies Virgin Money’s reputation within the space and evidences its commitment to sustainable lending.
Commenting on the deal, Wayne Cranstone, Investment Director, New Energy at Gresham House, said:
“This partnership with Virgin Money comes at a crucial time, as the UK ramps up efforts to meet its 2050 net-zero target. As host of the COP26 summit later this year, the country’s renewables capabilities will be firmly in the spotlight, and by expanding our solar operations, we hope to meaningfully contribute to the UK’s decarbonisation. By propelling us to the next stage of growth, this deal will further strengthen the fund’s attractive income proposition for investors.”
Keith Wilson, head of renewables at Virgin Money, said:
“This transaction is among the bank’s most notable contracts in the renewable energy sector to date. Working in partnership with Gresham House, we have delivered a bespoke and innovative funding solution, which both supports their strategic objectives and recognises their experience and reputation in the marketplace. In addition, the transaction directly supports our recently refreshed ESG strategy and the continued growth of our renewable energy lending book.”
Virgin Money’s £150m of investment in renewables lending to date, which includes hydro-electric power, power generation and wind farms, demonstrates its commitment to the sector.
With targeted new lending projects on the horizon, the bank continues to act at speed to fulfil its strategic growth ambitions. The bank’s approach will also incorporate green products and funding, as well as addressing residual carbon. Virgin Money has begun engaging with customers, colleagues, and industry forums to accelerate thinking and build its plans in this area.
Charles Gorman / Camilla Esmund
+44 (0)20 3995 6699
Notes to Editors
About Virgin Money
Virgin Money is a full-service digital bank, serving 6.5m customers across the UK. It offers market-leading products and services to meet the full range of customers’ retail and business banking needs. Virgin Money aims to provide a consistently world-class experience for customers through its leading technology platform, telephone banking and a national network of innovative stores and business banking centres. By making banking better, Virgin Money seeks to deliver on its purpose of ‘Making you happier about money’.
About Gresham House
Gresham House is a specialist alternative asset management group, dedicated to sustainable investments across a range of strategies, with expertise across forestry, housing, infrastructure, renewable energy and battery storage, public and private equity. Our origins stretch back to 1857, while our focus is on the future and the long term. Quoted on the London Stock Exchange (GHE:LN) we actively manage c.£4.0bn of assets on behalf of institutions, family offices, charities and endowments, private individuals, and their advisers. We act responsibly within a culture of empowerment that encourages individual flair and entrepreneurial thinking. As a signatory to the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), our vision is to always make a positive social or environmental impact, while delivering on our commitments to shareholders, employees, and investors.
The Gresham House New Energy team has a proven track record in developing and operating energy storage and other renewable assets having developed 264MW of Energy Storage Systems and approximately 290MW of predominantly ground-mounted solar projects. Gresham House Asset Management currently manages approximately 231MW of solar and wind energy projects and 425MW of energy storage assets.
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