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September 2021

Trading Update

Aster Group issues its unaudited Group trading update for the six months ended 30 September 2021, with comparatives to the audited financial statements for the 12 months ended 31 March 2021.

Trading Update

Aster Group and Central and Cecil merger confirmed

A merger between south of England housing association Aster Group and London-based housing trust Central and Cecil (C&C) has been confirmed, following agreement by both boards, and C&C shareholders, reached today.

The combined business, which will come together in January 2022, will own and manage 34,500 homes and will have the capacity to deliver a further 12,000 homes by 2030 via a planned £2.5bn investment programme. 

The merger, plans for which were first announced in June 2021, will also enable £571m worth of asset management, maintenance, improvements and sustainability upgrades to existing stock.

Bjorn Howard, Group chief executive of Aster Group, said: “Reaching board and shareholder agreement is an important step forward in our shared vision for C&C to join the Group in January. We have ambitious plans to deliver more housing and an enhanced service offering to our customers and welcoming a new member to the Group puts us firmly on the path to achieving those goals.

“There will be a phased integration and, while customers won’t experience any immediate changes, the prospect of what we can achieve together in the long-term is exciting. Building more homes, better services and investing in technology – ultimately this partnership is about bringing together the resources and expertise that we both bring to the table and using them more effectively to improve the experience for our colleagues and customers.”

Julia Ashley, CEO of C&C, said: “This merger presents an exciting new chapter for C&C at a time where we are celebrating our 95th anniversary. Through this new partnership, our residents can benefit through accelerated investment in our existing properties and services including in care, and building new homes to add to our existing portfolio of affordable housing for over-55s in London.” C&C, established in 1926, is headquartered in Waterloo and specialises in affordable housing and care for over 55s in London.

The move will be Aster’s second merger in the past two years, having entered a partnership with Dorset-based East Boro Housing Trust (EBHT) in early 2020.  

 

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Investor Updates

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Investor Updates

2020/21

Environmental, Social and Governance report

Motivated by our vision that everyone has a home, we are proud to continue to help as many people as possible to live in safe, affordable, good-quality housing in communities they are proud to call home.

Through our inaugural annual ESG report, we demonstrate our environmental responsibility, how our activities have a positive impact on people in our communities, as well as a robust governance framework. 

ESG 2021
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Financial performance

Annual report and accounts

The Aster Group is a financially stable and robust business which is reflected in our A+ credit rating from Standard & Poor’s. Our business performance is underpinned by strong financial and operational management, a disciplined approach to acquisitions and the talent and contributions of our people. Click on a link below to view our recent financial performance.

Aster Group

Our credit rating

Aster Group is a financially robust housing business. Our A+ credit rating from Standard and Poor’s is a measure of our financial stability and stewardship.

Updated 8 December 2021.

Download

Coronavirus – update for existing and prospective investors

With huge challenges facing every business across the UK, our commitment to strong governance and sound financial management is more crucial than ever. Our long-term strategic vision and our ability to harness flexible, dynamic governance and financial planning ensure that our business can adapt to a whole range of risks and opportunities. 

With all that in place we are confident we are well placed to navigate through the current uncertainty and use the lessons learned to help shape new ways of working in the future.

View detail around our liquidity along with our approach to governance, and operational management and maintenance here:

Investor update - Covid 19

Corporate

Aster Treasury

The Group raised finance in 2013 through a publicly listed bond which was later tapped in 2018. The bond was issued from our subsidiary company, Aster Treasury Plc. Click the link below to view the statutory accounts of Aster Treasury Plc.

ASTER TREASURY PLC AGM NOTICE 2020

Capital markets debt

The Group via Aster Treasury plc raises debt in the capital markets to fund the development programme. The Group has a publicly listed bond that was issued in 2013 and later tapped in 2018 and an inaugural sustainable note issuance from our Medium Term Notes programme in 2021.

2013 public bond issue

2021 sustainable note issuance

Our vision

Our vision is that everyone has a home. It’s a bold statement but one everyone across our business is passionate about.

We provide safety and security through our reliable customer services and we supply a wide range of housing options in response to the housing crisis.

Established in 1990, we are a well-run business with revenues over £200 million and an operating profit of more than £50 million.

Our Corporate Strategy

Our 2021/22 strategy is a shared set of objectives and goals that as a business we’ll work together to achieve.

Supported by three strategic themes our approach is underpinned by a set of enablers which will deliver our future and focus on transformation, growth and financial strength and sustainability.

Find out more Our story
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ASTER GROUP

Working with us

Aster is always interested in working with strategic partners, in joint ventures, and through mergers and cost-sharing vehicles with other organisations if the fit is right and if together we can provide better and more efficient housing. We are also interested in land acquisition, brownfield regeneration and other partnering opportunities for new housing development sites across the UK. For example, we have formed a partnership with Galliford Try to create more than 800 new homes for market sale, affordable rent and shared ownership over the next seven years.

Fire safety - statement to investors

Following the tragic fire in Grenfell Tower in London we have taken a number of steps to assure our customers of their safety in the homes we manage and maintain.

While we have no specific concerns about the safety of our buildings, following the tragedy in London we immediately started a proactive review of all of our communal properties to ensure the safety of our customers in the homes we manage and maintain.

The five blocks of flats we own and manage that are over six storeys or 18 metres high - which equates to 171 flats and is 0.58% of our housing stock - have been assessed for high risk materials. Work has also concluded on our review of low to medium rise blocks of flats.

None of the high rise blocks surveyed have been found to contain high risk materials (aluminium composite materials) similar to that used at Grenfell Tower. All of our low and medium rise stock has been checked and we are satisfied with these reviews, with the exception of three schemes which require further testing but of are of no immediate concern.

We continue to work with local authorities, fire authorities, the National Housing Federation and other relevant bodies to ensure we are providing information they require while also receiving the latest guidance and advice.

Where refurbishment work is being carried out to our buildings we are seeking assurance that all materials used comply with strict fire safety regulations.

We have reviewed the fire safety information available on our website and have issued guidance in our customer newsletter, emails and on our social media channels.

Alongside this, we have fully briefed our colleagues, particularly frontline employees such as contact centre workers, to ensure that we provide clear and consistent advice on fire safety and provide reassurance that our homes are safe and comply with all necessary fire standards.

We are urging our customers to test their smoke alarms regularly and to ensure that they are fully aware of the fire safety advice and fire escape routes in their homes.

We’re actively inviting customers to contact 0333 400 8333 if they have specific concerns or feedback.

Value for Money

We strive to achieve real value for money for our customers, lenders and communities. How we are making the most of every pound we spend is explained in our annual Aster Group Value for Money Self Assessment reports. 

(From 2019/20 onwards Aster’s VFM report can be found in the group’s annual report and accounts. Aster no longer produce a standalone VFM report.)

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Annual Statistics

Payment Performance

Aster publishes, on an annual basis, our payment performance statistics.

This includes the percentage of invoices paid within the financial year and the amount of interest paid to suppliers.

Payment Performance

We're here to help

Contact us

If you'd like to speak to someone in more detail regarding our investor relations then please use the contact details below to get in touch.

Bjorn Howard
Bjorn Howard
Group CEO

Phone 01380 735301

Email me
Amanda Williams
Amanda Williams
Group development director

Phone 01380 735637

Email me
Chris Benn
Chris Benn
Group finance director

Phone 01202 308682

Email me

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