Assured Guaranty UK Limited (AGUK*) announces that it has guaranteed scheduled principal and interest payments on approximately £327 million of index-linked secured bonds (the Bonds) raised in the public market by QAH Finance Plc (the Issuer), a newly incorporated special purpose company.
The proceeds from the Bonds finance the Issuer’s acquisition of an index-linked Credit Guarantee Loan from the Department of Health and Social Care, the existing funder of the Queen Alexandra Hospital PFI Project in Portsmouth. The underlying rating of the Issuer is Baa1 by Moody’s Investors Service Limited and, as a result of AGUK’s guarantee, the Bonds are rated A2 (Stable) by Moody’s Investors Service Limited.
The Queen Alexandra Hospital PFI Project has been fully operational for approximately 11 years after successfully completing its construction phase in 2010. The project has a 30-year operational concession expiring in December 2040 with Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust. The current sponsor for the project is HICL Infrastructure Plc.
The 18½ year Bonds were issued on 22 April 2021, with the issuance being oversubscribed following high demand from institutional investors.
Dominic Nathan, Managing Director, Assured Guaranty UK Limited, commented:
"The successful placement of £327 million of 100% index-linked wrapped bonds into the public markets attests to the significant demand from investors for long dated, guaranteed index-linked debt. The prevailing low interest rate environment created the ideal conditions for the Department of Health and Social Care to realise the benefits arising from the transfer of their loan. We believe investors are attracted to the wrapped Bonds by the A2 (Stable) rating and the associated reduction in capital charges our guarantee brings to long-term financings, along with the efficient asset-liability matching this type of investment can provide.”
AGUK guarantees timely payment of scheduled principal and interest to bondholders, throughout the life of the Bonds, in accordance with the terms of its financial guarantee.
In addition to its A2 rating from Moody’s Investors Service Limited, AGUK’s financial strength is rated AA by S&P Global Ratings and AA+ by Kroll Rating Agency, Inc.; these credit ratings have been endorsed, respectively, by S&P Global Ratings UK Limited and Kroll Bond Rating Agency UK Limited.
Assured Guaranty’s advisers on the deal were CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang (legal adviser), MAMG (technical adviser), Mazars (model audit and tax adviser) and Marsh (insurance adviser). HSBC acted as the bond lead manager.
All of the securities having been sold, this announcement is for information purposes only. This announcement does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or an invitation or inducement to engage in any investment activity.
The securities described herein have not been and will not be registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (Securities Act), or with any securities regulatory authority of any state or jurisdiction of the United States, and may not be offered, sold or transferred, directly or indirectly, in the United States absent registration under the Securities Act or an available exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act and the securities laws of any state or other jurisdiction of the United States.
*AGUK (company number 2510099) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. AGUK provides its financial guarantee together with a co-guarantee from its affiliate Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. (AGM).
Through its subsidiaries, Assured Guaranty Ltd. (AGL and, together with its insurance subsidiaries, Assured Guaranty) is the leading provider of financial guarantees for principal and interest payments due on municipal, public infrastructure and structured financings. Its subsidiary AGM guarantees international infrastructure and U.S. municipal bonds. AGUK, a subsidiary of AGM, is Assured Guaranty’s United Kingdom operating platform. Other AGL subsidiaries provide asset management services. AGL is a publicly traded (NYSE: AGO), Bermuda-based holding company. More information on AGL and its subsidiaries can be found at AssuredGuaranty.com.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements:
Any forward-looking statements made in this press release reflect Assured Guaranty’s current views with respect to future events and are made pursuant to the safe harbour provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in these statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those resulting from Assured Guaranty’s inability to execute its business strategies; the demand for Assured Guaranty’s financial guarantees; the development, course and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, the governmental and private actions taken in response, and the global consequences of the pandemic and such actions; those risks and uncertainties resulting from changes in rating agency models or opinions; adverse credit developments related to Puerto Rico or other portions of Assured Guaranty’s guaranteed portfolio; and other risks and uncertainties that have not been identified at this time, management’s response to these factors, and other risk factors identified in AGL’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are made as of 22 April 2021. Assured Guaranty undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.