Bank of London and the Middle East (BLME), the largest Islamic bank in Europe whose main shareholders are Boubyan Bank and the Kuwaiti Public Institution for Social Security, has announced its funding of a facility for the development of Haverhill Research Park, a 29.5 acre business and residential site to the North West of Haverhill, Suffolk.
An independent UK wholesale Sharia’a compliant bank, BLME is providing £4 million ($6/49 million) of financing alongside New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership, with the funding bid being jointly written by Carisbrooke Investments and St Edmundsbury Borough Council.
BLME said since its launch in 2007, the Islamic lender has provided over £500 million of financing to the UK property sector to date.
The contribution to the £770 million Growing Places Fund is the bank’s first development funded in conjunction with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), said the BLME in a statement.
The development of the Haverhill site is expected to create up to 2,000 new jobs and homes for around 350 people in Suffolk. Once completed in Spring 2013, the park will provide up to 450,000 sq ft of office, laboratory, and supporting accommodation for a wide spectrum of companies, from start ups to global players.
Alice Myers, the head of Property Finance at BLME, said, "With traditional financing remaining constrained, and government budgets under pressure, it is important for alternative finance providers like BLME to step into the gap and ensure that LEPs get the financial support they need to get vital growth projects off the ground."
"Financing projects like the Haverhill development is key for long-term growth, as they provide a boost to the real economy," Myers pointed out.
Commenting on the transaction, Communities secretary Eric Pickles said the £770 million Growing Places Fund was unlocking much-needed local growth and getting the infrastructure and homes it need built.
"The New Anglia and Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnerships , made up of civic leaders and local businesses, are using the money to help create jobs, homes and leisure facilities in Haverhill," he observed.
Nic Rumsey, the director of Carisbrooke Investments said with the funding from BLME in place, construction has started on this project with Breheny appointed as the contractor.
"This is the first time we have borrowed from an Islamic bank and we would be happy to repeat the experience. Completion programmed for April 2013 and we consider this an important element for economic growth in Haverhill and surrounding areas," he added.-TradeArabia News Service