CS Has the pandemic had a serious effect on business, Richard?
RN It has affected us, of course, however, technology has allowed us to keep in touch with investors and developers alike.
CS So you have been able to complete deals?
RN Over the period of the pandemic we have completed over one hundred deals.
CS And a good ongoing pipeline?
RN Yes, we have some very good deals in the pipeline, some with several hundred residential units; we also have an application in currently for 600 units
CS So applications for larger projects are welcome
RN We have a specialist fund which will provide up to £200m
CS What are the requirements for an applicant?
RN To qualify, an applicant needs to be able to demonstrate a good track record and a pipeline of opportunities to grow rapidly
CS What is covered in this deal?
RN The fund will provide 95% of all costs of the projects
CS What sort of return on investment are they looking for?
RN We need to see 20% IRR in all projects involved
CS Which aspects of the industry can qualify?
RN We have a hotel operator who ants to buy, refurbish and operate hotels to create an enlarged group
CS Will they retain the chain and brand?
RN The idea is to create a significant group before selling in four to five years time to an institution
CS Understood, we have seen how the leisure and hotel industry has used technology during the pandemic in order to offer service with minimum contact
RN The pandemic has seen efficiencies of all kinds across many industries.
CS Is the ££200m rolling fund for hotel development only?
RN It can also be used for residential development, to sell or to rent
CS Expansion on that scale will require significant organisation
RN We would expect to see an impressive line up of professional staff; site acquisition and planning permission will require an expert team; there may be an in-house construction department or there could be outside contractors, sales and lettings is a specialist department – this needs a well-oiled machine with experience at the top.
CS Understood -- and if there is a rollout of 500 to 1,000 units going on, this would go some way towards the current housing need?
RN We would expect the projects to be funded in tranches over a period of two to three years; and, yes, we can make a dent.
CS Thank you, Richard.
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