Funeral group completes £282m refinancing deal

One of the UK’s largest operators of crematoria and cemeteries has completed a £282 million refinancing deal.

Owned by majority shareholders Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and University Superannuation Scheme (USS), Westerleigh Group, headquartered in Bristol, organises approximately 72,000 funeral services every year, generating an annual revenue of more than £80m.

The financing from lenders Barclays, EDC, HSBC UK, Lloyds Bank and NatWest, will allow Westerleigh Group to grow and develop additional crematoria to add to its current portfolio of 40 locations across England, Scotland and Wales.

The group’s growth will also create a significant number of new jobs across the country to support its crematoria.

Debbie Smith, Westerleigh Group’s chief executive, said: “This finance agreement will enable us to continue to expand into new locations across the UK, serve even more people in our communities and welcome new team members into our growing business.

“Since the Group first launched in 1992, we have been committed to delivering exceptional care in peaceful, tranquil settings so that people can remember, mourn, and celebrate the lives of their loved ones in a way that is uniquely personal to them.

“We meet families during the most challenging time of their lives, and it’s a privilege to be able to provide an element of support – no matter how small.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the backing of our lenders and we look forward to continuing these relationships during this new period of growth.”

Tom Horton, co-head of corporate structuring at Barclays said: “We have long recognised the importance of Westerleigh as a UK business and we are proud to be able to support them in the expansion of their facilities across the country.

“This is another example of our continued support in funding promising opportunities to grow the UK economy.”

Jasson Bryant, relationship director at HSBC UK, said: “This deal is an important milestone in Westerleigh’s growth plans and continued expansion across the UK from its Bristol base.

“It also paves the way for new jobs and will allow the business to support even more families at their time of need.”

Westerleigh Group was advised by Gleacher Shacklock (corporate) and Clifford Chance (legal). Lenders were advised by Latham & Watkins (legal).


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