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Syndicated ESG facility awarded to Bluestone Resorts in Wales

Investors in this round: Barclays & Development Bank of Wales

Barclays and the Development Bank of Wales have awarded a syndicated facility to Bluestone. It’s Barclays’ second sustainability-linked financing to Bluestone and the largest ever strategic funding deal for the Development Bank.

The total loan facility will enable Bluestone Resorts, which operates Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire, to continue with a major sustainable investment programme that is already underway, including the ongoing development of the resort and the development of a 5-hectare solar farm that will generate 3.2 megawatts of electricity a year. The new solar farm is expected to provide up to 30% of Bluestone’s annual electricity usage.

The partnership approach will see Barclays take the role of Sustainability Coordinator, overseeing the KPIs that have been agreed for further sustainable development at Bluestone. These include improving biodiversity net gain, reducing emissions intensity and annually achieving their Green Key eco-accreditation, an international label awarded to accommodation and hospitality facilities that commit to sustainable business practices.

Bluestone National Park Resort is a 500 acre holiday resort which has its roots and ethos set in being a sustainable business. Bluestone’s chief executive, William McNamara, said: “We’re working hard to create a more sustainable future for Pembrokeshire while reducing our carbon emissions.

“We employ more than 850 people and support Welsh businesses by contributing over £7 million in annual expenditure into the local supply chain. Our business performance extends beyond profits, and this is a testament to our commitment to social and environmental responsibilities.”

Simon Vittle, Director of Large Corporates for Barclays said: “Our partnership with the Development Bank is a reflection of our approach to sustainable finance, providing the capital required to transform the economies that we serve.

“As the call for higher sustainability standards in businesses increases, we are leading the way together with Bluestone as they continue to invest in Pembrokeshire. In fact, we believe this to be one of the first deals in Wales with biodiversity-linked KPIs. Our role as Sustainability Coordinator means that we will be monitoring the agreed KPI’s as part of our investment management processes to demonstrate how sustainable practices can contribute to robust financial performance. It’s a really exciting opportunity that we’re delighted to be partnering with the Development Bank on.”

Fund Manager Nick Stork led the deal for the Development Bank of Wales alongside Clare Sullivan, the Regional Manager for West Wales. Nick said: “This is a major strategic investment for the Welsh tourism industry that has been made possible by us working together with Barclays to form a syndicate that leverages our collective strength and commitment to fostering social and sustainable development.  It’s the first of its kind for us and it’s particularly pleasing that our combined firepower will be used to fund investment in sustainable green energy generation and unlock growth for Bluestone as a well-established year round tourist destination.

“Our ability to deliver this funding has been due to a fantastic team effort and making the most of our scale to back a strategic project of this size. By combining the range of funds at our disposal, we’ve been able to support the business’ aims that also benefits the long-term sustainable future of tourism in Wales.”