University reveals £150m expansion scheme

Mar 09, 2020

The Beacon: new education and break-out space to be built at Cranfield University.

INSURANCE companies in North America are financing Cranfield University’s plans to increase its student numbers from next year.

They are providing the funds for a £150 million scheme to build 865 new student rooms and other improvements on campus to enhance the student experience.

The money, which is repayable over the next 30 years, was raised through a private placement arranged by HSBC. It is a pattern of funding used by a number of leading universities in recent years.

The first phase of student rooms are planned to be available from September next year. The investment will also fund the Beacon, a 4,000 sq metre building at the heart of the campus that will include facilities for education, catering and social spaces. Construction and fit-out is due to be completed in autumn 2022. 

The final portion of the funds will be used to restructure existing shorter-term borrowings and provide some scope to finance other investment opportunities as they arise.

Cranfield University’s chief executive and vice-chancellor Sir Peter Gregson.

Cranfield’s chief executive and vice-chancellor Professor Sir Peter Gregson said: “I am delighted that we have successfully raised long-term finance, at very competitive financing terms, to invest in the future of the university.  The new student accommodation and the Beacon will, together, have a very significant, positive impact on both the student and staff experience.”

Dominic Kerr, managing director and head of European corporate origination at HSBC, said: “We were delighted with the enthusiasm shown by a large number of investors in Cranfield’s exciting story and vision for the future and to have helped to find the right partners to fund this next phase of growth. 

“Investment such as this is a real vote of confidence in Cranfield and its strategy and the ultra-low coupons achieved bear comparison with the very lowest obtained to date by any UK higher education institution, underpinning an excellent financial platform for the university.”

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