Onward restructures to create foundation for growth

Onward restructures to create foundation for growth

To improve financial and operational efficiency, the Onward Group has restructured, consolidating subsidiaries Hyndburn Homes, Ribble Valley Homes, and Peak Valley Housing Association. Each housing association has transferred its engagements into Liverpool Housing Trust, which has subsequently been renamed Onward Homes Limited.

Onward Homes will continue to operate as part of the Onward Group, which also includes subsidiary Contour Homes. The Group is one of the North West’s largest housing associations and now owns and manages more than 35,000 homes.

The restructure follows the formation of a common board earlier this year to unify governance. The move will simplify treasury arrangements, with a reduction of gross borrowing of £90m, enhancing financial efficiency and value for money.

Centrus acted as financial advisor to Onward Homes and law firm Devonshires advised on the corporate and financing aspects, including the property security elements which will underpin the
new financing arrangements.

Lisa Oxley, Executive Director of Finance & ICT at Onward, who led the project said:

“The completion of this restructure combines the strength of our legacy organisations and enables more flexibility to deliver on new exciting opportunities in the changing housing sector.Both Centrus and Devonshires have demonstrated a deep commitment to understanding who we are and what our short and long term objectives were. We achieved a successful team ethic at a strategic and transactional level to deliver an outcome which exceeded our expectations.”

John Tattersall, Director at Centrus, commented:

“Onward has transformed its treasury position, radically increasing flexibility and freedom to operate, enhanced value for money, and secured a robust platform from which to deliver new homes and services. Whilst negotiations were complex the process has retained significant economic value in historic financing relationships, obtained desired covenant freedoms, and places the organisation well to grow into the future. We have been delighted to work with Onward in successfully reaching this outcome.”

Gary Grigor, Partner at Devonshires added:

“The financing aspects of this restructure were complex. We had to secure upfront consent from incumbent funders to permit the intra‐group merger and negotiate and advise on new and restated financing arrangements for circa £226m of debt with revised covenant requirements to reflect the larger entity and Onward Homes’ future operations. The group will now benefit from a much simpler financial structure and more efficient partnership, enabling them to boost the delivery of new homes and improve services.”


Media coverage:

Onward Group confirms restructure consolidating three subsidiaries – 24Housing


Notes to editors:

1. Onward is the largest registered provider of social housing based solely in the North West of England with 35,000 homes across Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Merseyside and Lancashire. Onward is a not-for-profit organisation, committed to the regeneration and sustainability of the North West region, with a primary focus on making a positive difference in the communities they serve. Onward traces its roots back to the foundation of Liverpool Housing Trust in 1965 and Portico Housing Association in 1982.
2. Various hedging positions have been simplified from an operational perspective whilst minimizing break costs. The range of documentation has been significantly reduced, an
element of term debt has been restructured to RCF to enhance treasury flexibility, and one funder relationship has been exited.
3. Centrus has a breadth of experience in planning and negotiating transactions of this nature and is currently engaged on several similar restructures and mergers at various stages
involving Registered Providers and groups of differing sizes and complexities across England and Wales.
4. Lisa Oxley from Onward led the overall project.
5. John Tattersall from Centrus led the financial advisory aspect.
6. Established over 170 years ago, Devonshire’s employs more than 200 people from its head office in London and offices in Leeds and Colchester. It works across 16 sectors ranging from
housing management to private client.
7. Jonathan Jarvis from Devonshires led the corporate aspects, Gary Grigor the financing aspects and Chris Drabble the property security elements.

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