UOW’s new record secures capital funding for expansion plans

Damien Israel
Damien Israel

Debt, fundraising and record breaking deals don’t usually make for good bedfellows.

But they worked a treat for the University of Wollongong, which secured capital funding for its future expansion plans following a record-breaking Medium Term Note (MTN) issue on Friday, December 1.

The A$175 million transaction achieved a new record low yield of 3.54 per cent for a 10 year term, bettering all previous MTN debt raising transactions by Australian tertiary education institutions.

The oversubscribed issue generated strong interest from high quality investors, which saw the order book value peak at about A$500 million before UOW confirmed its final price requirements.

The university intends to use the funds raised in this transaction to support various capital expenditure plans including projects at its Wollongong Campus and expansion of its recently opened South Western Sydney Campus in Liverpool.

UOW chief finance officer, Damien Israel, said the market’s response to its Medium Term Note issue was an endorsement of the institution and its future plans.

The market’s response shows a high level of confidence in our plans for future expansion.

Damien Israel

‘’This successful deal reflected the university’s outstanding reputation as a high quality teaching and research institution, with a strong track record of highly effective governance and management,’’ Mr Israel said.

‘’This was clearly evidenced in the quality of investors taking part in the transaction and the substantial peak in the order book.

‘’The market’s response shows a high level of confidence in our plans for future expansion.’’

The university is rated by Standard & Poor’s as AA (stand-alone) with a stable outlook. This rating has been in place since 2006.

Most investors were from Australia (81%), followed by Asia (15%) and the remainder from Europe, the Middle East and Africa (4%). The vast majority of investors were asset managers (93%), with the remainder comprised of middle market, securities and bank investors.

UOW unveiled its 2016-2036 Wollongong Campus Master Plan in August last year. Expressions of interest recently closed for the construction of two major building projects identified in that plan: the Western Building, which will house state of the art creative arts studios and teaching facilities, and Molecular Horizons, UOW’s Centre for Molecular and Life Sciences research.

UOW’s establishment of its South Western Sydney campus in Liverpool for 2017 has been welcomed by local students, with first year enrolments meeting targets and accelerated growth expected as course offerings expand.