We're Senior Debt Finance specialists
We help secure equity finance for property development in the UK.
- Market-leading senior debt finance up to £250m
- Experienced developers only
- Complex structures - offshore and non-UK residents
- All UK and certain EU jurisdictions considered
- Upscale and run multiple projects
- All asset classes considered
Senior debt finance is a type of development financing that provides a priority claim on the assets and cash flows of a company in the event of default or liquidation. It is considered the highest-ranking form of debt and is typically secured by collateral or assets of the borrowing entity.
This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of senior debt finance, including its characteristics, features, how it works, who uses it, when it can be used, and the benefits of its use.
Senior debt finance is the largest loan amount given by a lender for a property development project. It is the primary source of borrowing secured against a development asset.
It is normally the first debt option for a project and is repaid before any other types of finance. This type of finance usually has the lowest interest rate and highest security for the lender. The loan terms and conditions are negotiated between the borrower and the lender.
The characteristics of senior debt financing are:
Priority: Senior debt holders have a higher priority claim on the assets and cash flows of a company compared to other creditors in case of default or bankruptcy.
Security: Senior debt is usually secured by collateral or specific assets, providing an added layer of protection for lenders.
Fixed Repayment: Senior debt is structured with fixed repayment terms, including interest payments and a defined repayment schedule.
Lower Interest Rates: Senior debt typically carries lower interest rates compared to other forms of debt financing due to its higher priority and security.
Security: Senior debt is often secured by assets such as real estate, equipment, or inventory, which can be seized in case of default.
Covenants: Lenders may impose certain financial and operational covenants to ensure the borrower's compliance with agreed-upon terms and maintain financial stability.
Prepayment Penalties: Some senior debt agreements may include prepayment penalties if the borrower repays the loan before the agreed-upon maturity date.
Negotiable Terms: The terms of senior debt financing, including interest rates, repayment periods, and collateral requirements, can be negotiated between the borrower and lender.
Application and Due Diligence: The borrower applies for senior debt financing by submitting a loan proposal to potential lenders. Lenders conduct due diligence to assess the borrower's creditworthiness, financial performance, and collateral.
Loan Agreement: If approved, the borrower and lender negotiate the terms of the loan agreement, including interest rates, repayment schedule, collateral, and covenants.
Disbursement: Once the loan agreement is finalised, the lender disburses the funds to the borrower, who can utilise the capital for various purposes, such as expansion, acquisitions, or working capital.
Repayment: The borrower makes periodic interest payments and follows the agreed-upon repayment schedule. In case of default, the lender has the right to seize the collateral and liquidate it to recover the outstanding debt.
Senior debt finance is commonly used by:
Established Companies: Companies with a solid operating history and stable cash flows often utilise senior debt finance to fund expansion plans, working capital needs, or refinancing existing debt.
Leveraged Buyouts (LBOs): Private equity firms often use senior debt financing as part of leveraged buyout transactions to acquire a company, using the assets and cash flows of the target company as collateral.
Real Estate Developers: Developers use senior debt finance to fund construction projects, where the underlying property serves as collateral for the loan.
Infrastructure Projects: Governments and private entities involved in large-scale infrastructure projects often rely on senior debt finance to secure funding for the construction and development phases.
Senior debt finance can be used in various scenarios, including:
Expansion and Growth: Companies looking to expand their operations, enter new markets, or launch new products can use senior debt finance to fund their growth plans.
Refinancing: Borrowers may opt for senior debt financing to refinance existing debt at more favourable interest rates or to consolidate multiple debts into a single loan.
Acquisition Financing: Senior debt finance is commonly utilised in mergers and acquisitions to fund the purchase of a target company or its assets.
Project Financing: Large-scale projects, such as infrastructure or energy projects, often require significant upfront capital, which can be secured through senior debt financing.
Lower Cost: Senior debt generally offers lower interest rates compared to other forms of debt financing, resulting in reduced borrowing costs.
Flexibility: Borrowers and lenders have the flexibility to negotiate loan terms, such as interest rates, repayment periods, and collateral requirements, to align with the borrower's needs.
Priority in Repayment: Senior debt holders have priority over other creditors in the event of default or liquidation, increasing the likelihood of repayment.
Security: Collateral provided by the borrower provides an added layer of security for lenders, reducing their risk and enabling access to larger loan amounts.
Established Market: Senior debt finance is a well-established and widely used financing option, providing access to a broad network of lenders with expertise in evaluating and structuring loans.
RG Construction is a mid-sized property development development company looking to purchase an old office building and convert it into luxury apartments. The building is located in a high-end area of the city and is in need of extensive renovation. It was previously purchased by the city for £9.6 million and is being sold for £12.5 million.
In order to finance the purchase and conversion of the building, RG Construction has decided to use senior debt financing. After researching various options with their finance broker, they secure an offer of £9 million in senior debt financing from a private equity firm.
The loan is structured as a 8-year term, with a fixed interest rate of 3.25%, amortised over the life of the loan. The loan also includes a 6-month interest only period, with a balloon payment due at the end of the term.
To secure the loan, RG Construction agrees to put up the apartment building as collateral, as well as to pledge additional assets such as their accounts receivable and equity in other projects. As part of the loan terms, the lender also requires the development company to maintain certain financial ratios, such as debt-to-equity and liquidity.
RG Construction uses the funds to purchase the building and begins the conversion work. As the development progresses, the lender continues to monitor the company’s financials and requires monthly updates and reports.
After 8 years, the apartments are completed and the loan is repaid in full. With the help of the senior debt financing, RG Construction is able to successfully convert the old office building into luxury apartments, providing them with an excellent return on investment.
Senior debt finance offers an attractive financing option for companies seeking capital for various purposes. With its priority claim, security, lower interest rates, and flexibility in terms, senior debt finance can support growth, acquisitions, refinancing, and project financing.
By understanding the characteristics, features, and benefits of senior debt finance, borrowers can make informed decisions about their financing needs and explore opportunities to secure funding for their business objectives.
Remember, before making any financial decisions, it is advisable to consult with qualified professionals such as accountants, lawyers, and financial advisors who can provide tailored guidance based on your specific circumstances.
Disclaimer: This guide is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered as financial or legal advice. Borrowers should consult with qualified professionals and conduct thorough due diligence before pursuing Stretched Senior Debt Finance or any other financing options.
We're experienced financial experts who can help you arrange Stretched Senior Debt Finance.
Call our professional team on 01202 612934, we're ready to help.