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RHP retains sector-leading credit rating

A medium-sized west London housing association has retained its position as having the joint-best credit rating in the sector, following a review by agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P). 

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Richmond Housing Partnership (RHP) has maintained its AA- rating in a review announced by the agency today, which sets it above 25 of the 27 other associations in the S&P portfolio.

Only Local Space, which has a higher than normal rating thanks to its financing arrangement with Newham Council in east London, is considered as credit-worthy as RHP.

Granting RHP the rating, S&P said it was underpinned by their “very strong enterprise profile” and “skilful and experienced management team”.

“In response to the 1% annual rent cut until 2020 and thanks to its increasing digitalisation of services, RHP has successfully implemented a well-defined cost reduction programme,” S&P added.

S&P also affirmed an ‘AA-’ issue rating on the £175m bond that RHP issued in 2015.

Corinna Bishopp, executive director of finance at RHP, said: “We’re really excited to receive this reaffirmation of our credit rating.

“It is confirmation that our continued focus on delivery of our strategy, our careful approach to financial management and cautious but growing development agenda is successful.”

RHP was created when Richmond Council transferred 8,000 homes to the landlord in 2000.

The housing provider plans to build around 2,000 homes over the next six years, including an increased amount of shared ownership housing. This will be funded by cost efficiencies made by RHP’s launch of the UK’s first digital-only housing service, RHPi.

S&P downgraded its entire portfolio of housing associations following the Brexit vote in 2016. It has continued to downgrade many other associations due to increased exposure to the sales market as they step up development ambitions.

Credit ratings are important in attracting long-term investors, particularly on the public bond markets.

Update: at 1.15pm on 23.1.2018

This story was updated to remove a table of housing association’s current ratings when errors were pointed out. This appears to have been due to Inside Housing being provided with out of date information

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