Aster Group’s A+ credit rating affirmed

Housing association Aster Group has had its strong credit rating affirmed by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P).

S&P maintained its A+ rating on the group along with a ‘stable’ outlook. The strong  rating reflects expectations that Aster's “experienced” management team will retain its solid performance and that demand for its properties would remain high.

S&P added: “We view positively Aster's financial policies – including a prudent liquidity framework – which account for securing funding considerably ahead of development spend.”

Chris Benn, group finance director at Aster, said: “We’re pleased that S&P has again recognised our responsible financial approach to delivering affordable homes across the south of England.

“This has been a year like no other, but the treasury strategy we have in place, which is based on a mixed-funding model and strong liquidity, has put us in the best possible position to continue to provide the homes and essential services our customers need.”

The announcement comes shortly after the Regulator for Social Housing (RSH) confirmed that Aster had maintained its G1 and V1 governance and viability ratings.

RSH said the judgement reflected the group’s ongoing commitment to the strongest corporate governance and its long-term financial viability. The ratings are informed by interim assessments that have taken place periodically over the year.

Dawn Fowler-Stevens, group growth and assurance director, said: “Maintaining our G1/V1 ratings is a testament to the work put in across the business to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19 this year. We’ve taken a dynamic approach to governance which recognises the value of data in decision-making and the importance of collaboration in the sector. The latest rating validates our commitment to strong financial management and robust, agile governance.

“Housing is one of the areas most acutely affected by the pandemic and it’s vital that the social housing sector continues to assess the way in which it operates to ensure it is equipped to deal with the risks,challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Housing associations are key to the UK’s recovery from COVID-19 and, in the longer term, providing the affordable housing the country so urgently needs. Sound corporate governance is essential to making that happen.”

In the year ending March 2020, Aster reported turnover of £215m (2019: £211m).

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