Wheatley Group’s financial outlook revised upward to ‘stable’
International ratings agency S&P Global Ratings has announced an upgraded outlook on Wheatley Group’s credit rating.
The agency revised its forecast for the housing, care and property management group to “stable” from “negative”, while affirming its A+ credit rating. Wheatley’s Stand Alone Credit Profile was also upgraded, from A to A+.
The upgraded outlook comes a year after Wheatley was issued with a revised credit rating of A+ (negative outlook). At the time there was on-going uncertainty over the UK’s exit from the EU and a view that the environment in which Wheatley operated could come under pressure.
The decision to revise the outlook to stable follows S&P Global Ratings annual review of Wheatley, its business and financial performance and the evolving Scottish policy and regulatory context. S&P said the revised outlook reflected the group’s strengthening financial performance and strong liquidity position.
In July 2018, Wheatley announced £185 million of new funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to help build and improve thousands of affordable homes across Scotland. S&P said it believed this additional investment, together with the development and completion of new homes, would result in further improvements to Wheatley’s strengthening financial position.
The report said: “The stable outlook reflects our view that Wheatley will continue to focus on strengthening financial performance while retaining its strong liquidity position. We view positively the group’s decision to secure funding as it continues to deliver its development target of 2200 unit completions by the end of 2022.”
Wheatley Group chief executive Martin Armstrong said: “We welcome this upgraded outlook on our credit rating. It recognises our strong and improving financial position, despite all the on-going economic challenges, as well as the great progress we are making on our ambition to increase the supply of affordable housing in our communities.”
Wheatley Group chair Alastair MacNish added: “This is a huge vote of confidence in Wheatley and in Scotland. We are delighted that S&P have recognised our strong performance, exceptional asset quality and the strength of our management and strategy with this revised rating.
“None of this would be achievable without the continued dedication of all of the staff at Wheatley who deliver outstanding services to our communities every day.”