Ashurst oversees sale of 50-year £50m bond for Imperial College

Ashurst has acted for Imperial College, London, on the sale of a £50m bond to help fund its teaching and research. The bond is one of the largest deals by a British university.

The firm has handled most of Imperial College’s corporate finance work since it successfully pitched to be on the university’s panel three years ago.

Proceeds from the £50m, 50-year unsecured private placement will be used to fund the university’s academic activities, as well as providing capital for new student facilities and other estate projects.

The demand for long-dated bonds from pensions funds and insurance companies has driven supply of these notes from governments and corporates. However, it is thought that this is the first time an academic institution has sold a 50-year note.

Partner Gonzalo Fernandez led the Ashurst team. Clifford Chance partner Andrew Coats advised the investors. The Royal Bank of Scotland acted as sole agent for the private placement.

Imperial College, which specialises in science, technology and medicine, is no stranger to the bond market. Three years ago it issued a £30m, 30-year bond, again advised by Ashurst. Imperial’s total borrowing facilities now amount to £173m and so far it has drawn down £123m of this funding.

In the past, King’s College, London, has also tapped the bond market to raise funds.

Ashurst is one of a handful of firms on Imperial College’s legal panel. The others include Burges Salmon, CMS Cameron McKenna and Mills & Reeve.