Data Economy

Ark secures £700 million loan for expansion

Ark Data Centres, Longcross facility, due 2023

UK data centre operator Ark Data Centres has secured £700 million in funds to partially cover the expansion of its campuses and refinance the existing facility closed in 2019.

The loan, structured by ING, saw NordLB, ABN Amro, Lloyds, Crédit Agricole CIB and HCOB acted as Mandated Lead Arrangers; Sabadell, NIBC and HSBC acted as Lead arrangers and Investec as arranger. Ark said the book was heavily oversubscribed, with interest from existing lenders, new banks, and institutional investors

Sicco Boomsma, managing director within ING’s TMT sector financing team, said: “This is one of the largest sustainability-linked loans ever done for a UK data centre operator, another important milestone for the company and reflective of the way Ark has been positioning itself in the market as a leading sustainable data centre operator”.

Ark is the JV partner to UK Government in Crown Hosting Data Centres Limited and operates three campuses with facilities in Corsham, Farnborough and Enfield, with a further three campuses currently under development.

Tina Pristovsek, director within the EMEA real estate structured finance team at Bank of America said, “The transaction showcases Bank of America’s leading capabilities in the real estate structured finance field illustrating innovative ways we can support sustainable growth and investment plans of Ark, one of the UK’s pre-eminent data centre operators”.

Established in 2005, Ark's sustainability strategy sees it use steel over concrete in construction and, for the last six years, its website states, the firm uses 100% renewable power and purchases its energy ahead of time, which it says brings stability to the demand for new renewables projects and reduces the cost of power for its customers.

Details of the expansion plans weren't shared, however, the Longcross facility is due to come online next year. When confirmed in July of 2021, Ark said it will "deliver the definitive blueprint for socially responsible data centres through the deployment of the latest innovations and future-proofed technologies – enabling organisations to reduce their emissions and meet their own sustainability targets".

Back-up generators at the site will run on gas, which Ark said compared to diesel, "will have an immediate impact on reducing Nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels which have become dangerously high in city areas, impacting on asthma sufferers and even mortality rates".

The generators are "future-proofed and ready for hydrogen as the UK grid transitions", Ark said at the time.

On that, four months prior to Ark's announcement National Grid said of hydrogen: "We are exploring the development of a UK hydrogen ‘backbone’, which aims to join together industrial clusters around the country, potentially creating a 2000km hydrogen network."