UPP was started ten years ago but has been independent for the past four years following an MBO. The company has a turnover of £65m but that figure is expected to rise to between £70m and £72m next year.
Behr says: “Clearly in this market you have to be friendly with as many banks as possible where as maybe in previous years, you’ve only been cosy with two or three lenders. Given the size of our projects is increasing and appetite to lend is decreasing, we need more relationships.”
UPP has also amended its transaction structures to make them more "fundable". Behr explains: “We’re being as flexible as possible in order to get the funding we need.
“I think within the banks and industry, there was some level of complacency that funding would always be there. But this company has always been on a learning curve and has amended its structure, mainly to suit the banks’ requirements.”
UPP doesn’t pursue property finance. Funding is based, according to Behr, purely on cash flows for the next 30 to 40 years. "It’s a much tougher process to go through than if you’re just borrowing based on the value of a property," he says. "We’ve always tried to develop the business model to suit the banks. If we suit their requirements, we’re minimising the risk of the projects for them."
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