OakNorth completes £50m loan to Arora Group

UK: OakNorth Bank has announced the completion of a £50m loan to hospitality operator The Arora Group.

The loan is intended to help the company take advantage of new opportunities in the post-COVID landscape.

Arora Group’s portfolio includes three separate subgroups across different asset classes, including such properties as Intercontinental London, the Sofitel at Heathrow and Fairmont Windsor Park. Its revenues have been heavily hit by the pandemic, with its hotels falling between 10 and 25 per cent occupancy since reopening.

Surinder Arora, CEO and founder of Arora Group, said: “COVID-19 has inevitably presented numerous challenges for our sector, but as we found during the 2008 financial crisis, unique opportunities arise in times of economic turmoil. This loan from OakNorth Bank provides us with the liquidity to take advantage of these opportunities and focus on playing for the upside when many others will be distracted trying to protect the downside.”

OakNorth has committed to providing assistance to much of the industry during this time, loaning over £220 million via the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme as of August. It petitioned the government in April, hoping to increase support for medium-sized businesses.

Spokespersons for OakNorth Bank said: “The Arora Group is one of the UK’s fastest-growing and most successful privately-owned companies, so it’s fair to say it has the pick of the litter when it comes to debt financing. The 20-year track record of the Group speaks for itself and despite the challenges COVID-19 is presenting to the sector, Arora Group is still being able to identify interesting opportunities to grow its portfolio.

“We’re glad to have been able to support the Group and look forward to continuing to build on the relationship.”

BHN spoke to Ben Barbanel, head of debt finance for OakNorth, about the integration of OakNorth into the CBILS, and the company’s future lending. Click here to listen.

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