Education supplies

UK school supplies sector first as Findel secures £18m sustainability-linked loan facility from Santander UK – FE News

Education resource provider Findel has secured what is believed to be the UK school supplies sector’s first sustainability-linked loan facility from lender Santander UK.

The Hyde, Greater Manchester-based company will use the £18m facility to support its medium-term growth plans while meeting its environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments.

The company’s origins as a provider of educational resources date back to 1817. Today, Findel’s brands and websites offer over 32,000 products to educators and parents based in the UK and overseas. , the company exporting to 130 countries.

The company is backed by private equity firm Endless, which backed a management buyout in April 2021.

To qualify as a sustainability-linked loan, Findel has made specific annual commitments to improving its carbon footprint and making its products sustainable, or sustainably improved, with a focus on eliminating plastics. for single use.

In addition, the company is committed to supporting an increasing number of its employees to engage in charitable or community activities and to improving its ESG supply chain audits for suppliers operating in high-value global markets. risk.

Findel’s progress against these commitments will be independently monitored by a third-party sustainability-linked loan insurance provider.

Depending on Findel’s performance against these improving annual commitments, the interest rate on Santander’s UK credit facility could rise or fall over its six-year term.

Any savings in interest costs realized through the achievement of ESG objectives by Findel will then be donated to support relevant community programs and charitable causes.

Findel Managing Director Chris Mahady said, “In many ways, Findel has been an ESG-focused company since its inception because of the dedication we have always had to educating, caring for and helping people. children to learn and develop.

“We are very proud to be able to secure what we and Santander UK believe will be the first sustainability-linked loan facility for the UK school supplies sector.

“This will allow us to further embed ESG at the heart of Findel, lead by example as a sustainable and responsible business in the markets we serve, and invest in new products and services to benefit educators and parents all over the world.”

Chris Thomas, Director of Santander, Structured Finance, Financial Sponsors, said: “Fidel is a leading player in the school supplies market. We are delighted to provide funding to support this important next phase of its growth strategy, which is the first sustainable linked loan facility to be provided by Santander UK’s team of financial sponsors.

Wendy Whewell, Head of ESG and Climate Change at Santander UK, added: “It has been a pleasure to work with Findel on this transaction. In our discussions with the management team, it is clear that sustainability is part of their philosophy. Its ambitious and ambitious goals will build on the work it has already undertaken and its commitment to work with all of its stakeholders to ensure they are all on a just transition to net zero.

In January, Findel announced that it had changed its name and introduced a new brand positioning line “Developing Education for Generations” that reflects the company’s heritage and future evolution. Findel brands include Hope, GLS, Davies Sports and Philip Harris.

In addition to Hyde, the company has a distribution center and offices in Nottingham and employs around 300 people in total.

Findel was supported on the transaction by Richard Siddall and Louise O’Sullivan of PwC debt counsel and Phil Scott and Laura Swift of law firm Walker Morris. Financial due diligence was undertaken by Dan Rosinke and Nikolai Naidoo at Grant Thornton. Santander was advised by Matthew Christmas and Noori Goffar of law firm DLA Piper.

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