MEPC repays debt against business parks

Birchwood Park owner MEPC has announced the second stage of a debt repayment schedule as it seeks to refinance ahead of maturity of its existing bank facility.

MEPC will prepay £74.5m of the £470m loan secured against four business parks via Opera Finance MEPC on the next interest payment date on 20 April 2011, in advance of maturity in July 2012. This follows the first stage prepayment of £102.5m in January 2011.

The CMBS, completed in November 2005 and arranged by Eurohypo AG, was secured against Milton Park in Oxfordshire, Birchwood Park in Warrington, Chineham Park in Basingstoke and Hillington Park in Glasgow. MEPC owns eight business parks across the UK.

Hillington Park will now be released from the securities. MEPC will use a combination of cash from recent disposals and equity, alongside a new five year facility of £53.6m from Eurohypo.

As a result of the prepayment, the CMBS loan outstanding reduces to £293m, secured against Milton Park and Chineham Park and the interest cover on the remaining debt will increase to 230%.

Rick de Blaby, chief executive of MEPC, said: "This early repayment of part of MEPC's CMBS Notes marks a second stage in our programme to address the refinancing of our portfolio ahead of maturity after the successful repayment of £102.5m in January. The new loan, again with Eurohypo, whose long term relationship we hugely value, reduces gearing and brings in further diversity to our overall debt position. It also underlines MEPC's prudent debt strategy, the robustness of its income from quality assets and our overall desire to be positioned well for a new phase of activity and performance."

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