Belfast Telegraph

Aberdeen City Council issues bonds worth £370m

Aberdeen City Council has become Scotland's first local authority to raise money on the debt market, after announcing it will issue bonds worth £370 million as part of a major infrastructure programme.

The council said the proceeds will be put towards school and housing developments, road construction, digital enhancements and a "City Centre Masterplan".

Aberdeen City Council leader Jennifer Laing said: "This is a remarkable achievement by this council in securing this investment in the future of our city."

She added: "To continue to compete on an international stage, it is vital that we deliver world class facilities for Aberdeen's citizens, businesses and visitors. Today's announcement is a major boost towards that objective."

It comes after Moody's Investment Services assigned Aberdeen City Council a credit rating of Aa2 in October, noting that the council had "demonstrated a solid financial record" and maintained a net budget surplus over the past five years.

The bond, which will be listed on the London Stock Exchange, will mature in 2054.

Aberdeen is currently home to around 230,000 people, having grown by around 11% between 2004 and 2014 thanks to both international and domestic migration.

Finance, policy and resources committee convener councillor Willie Young said infrastructure investments will help to diversify Aberdeen's economy. The city's economy is driven by tourism, property, life sciences, and the struggling oil and gas industry.

Oil prices have slumped more than 50% since their June 2014 peak, causing pain for oil producers across the globe.

Mr Young said: "The bond issue is part of our strategy to maintain a diversified funding portfolio that provides us with greater financial flexibility.

"This flexibility will help Aberdeen anchor its status as both a global energy hub as well as ensuring that we have the infrastructure required to attract world class businesses as we seek to broaden and diversify our economic base."

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