Credit crunch forces Opal to seek new refinancing options

A £440m refinancing securitisation deal by Opal Property Group, the Manchester-based student housing developer and hotel operator, has been cancelled due to the global credit crunch.

Stuart WallStuart Wall, founder and managing director of the company behind Wilmslow Park in Rusholme and The Place apartment-hotel in Ducie Street, said more conventional bank funding sources would now be pursued.

He said: "We have shelved the deal because of the credit crunch and what is going on in financial markets.

"This deal should have gone through in June but was delayed for various reasons – one being the credit rating agencies having a backlog of work – and by the time they got here it was July and the market changed."

Wall, who was advised on the deal by a team at Royal Bank of Scotland, added:

"Rather than delay it for a few months, we'll look at other ways of raising money. There'll be no problem with funding going forward, we'll just have to go down more traditional routes. We have the full support of our banks.

"We would have liked to have done the deal but as you get bigger you are more likely to be affected by the macro-economy."

Wall said the company's net asset value had nearly doubled from £500m to £900m this year on the back of a number of weighty acquisitions, including a £100m stock transfer from Manchester University.

Opal has developments in Liverpool, Sheffield, Bradford, Huddersfield, Leicester, Nottingham and Plymouth.

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