The bond issue raised £360 million in an initiative to provide 4,000 new homes over the next five years.
Jigsaw is one of England’s largest housing groups, with a portfolio of more than 35,000 homes across the North West and East Midlands. The group will use the new investment to deliver 4,000 new social housing properties over the next five years and to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Beever and Struthers, headquartered in Manchester and with offices in Blackburn, Birmingham, and London, acted for Jigsaw on raising the cash via the bonds market. The firm provided key input into the process through verification of financial information in the bond prospectus that was issued to potential investors and confirmation of the financial position of the group. Savills, Addleshaw Goddard and Trowers & Hamlin also advised on the transaction.
Lawyer Monthly had the pleasure to speak with John Jones, Partner at Beever and Struthers to give us some further insight into this transaction:
Can you tell us more about the role you played during this transaction?
The bond issuance process involves the preparation of the complex documents detailing the background, structure, commercial and financial position of the issuer, and a requirement for that information to be reviewed and verified by a raft of advisors including lawyers, accountants, surveyors and other specialists. We analysed the financial information to provide comfort to the issuers and the joint bookrunners, NatWest and Barclays, on the information they were publishing for prospective investors, confirming the financial position of Jigsaw Homes Group.
What professional skills and experience did you bring to the process?
As one of the leading providers of specialist audit and advisory services to housing associations nationwide, Beever and Struthers was ideally placed to assist Jigsaw with this tremendously successful fundraising to support its sustainability targets. Acting as reporting accountant, we have advised on a number of such bond issues over recent years, raising billions of pounds. Our great experience of working alongside the funders on such issues, and importantly their legal advisers, means we have a deep understanding of their requirements.
Did you encounter any major challenges during your work and, if so, how did you overcome them?
Each bond issue brings its own unique challenges because each organisation you are assisting is different. In the case of Jigsaw Homes, we were dealing with a relatively new client so had to understand their financial systems and controls very quickly, while gaining an appreciation of their financial position. Secondly, the client had itself undergone some group restructuring over recent years, which meant comparability of financial statements to prior years was going to be more challenging. Finally, as this was the first time Jigsaw Homes had raised money through the bond markets, they were going into the unknown in terms of what was expected from them. Fortunately, the team at Jigsaw was able to provide everything we asked of them. Working closely as a team, we delivered a smooth process, reporting to a tight timescale.