LONDON, March 17 British insurer Legal & General
Group Plc (L&G) has bought a portfolio of low-cost
housing for 252 million pounds ($419 million), continuing an
investment drive into UK infrastructure.
The investment is in tune with British government policy to
court private-sector investment from the likes of insurance
companies to help renew a creaking infrastructure base at
minimal cost to the public purse, and help ease a housing
L&G said on Monday the portfolio of more than 4,000 homes,
over half by value in northwest England, would be bought from
and leased back to housing organisation Places for People on a
50-year basis. Places for People will build 7,000 new housing
units with the sale proceeds, spread around Britain, over the
next seven years, L&G said.
L&G and other insurers are keen investors in infrastructure
such as roads as well as homes because the long duration of the
commitments and the steady, inflation-linked returns from rents
and tolls are well suited for covering pension liabilities.
The new investment is by L&G's Retirement business, which
sells annuities to pensioners who hand over their savings,
accumulated during their working lives, in return for a
guaranteed income until death.
"This 252 million pounds, 50-year investment demonstrates
the capacity of institutions like Legal & General to help solve
the UK's housing and infrastructure crisis," said L&G managing
director Paul Stanworth.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "This is very welcome
news to build thousands of new affordable homes for people
across the country."