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Blackstone Leads $156 Million Loan to U.K. Residential Lender

April 4 (Bloomberg) -- Blackstone Group LP led a 94 million-pound ($156 million) equity financing for London-based residential developer lender Pluto Finance as a housing shortage in England drives up home prices.

Blackstone, based in New York, was part of a group of investors that also included Clearbell Capital LLP, Pluto Finance said in an e-mailed statement today. Pluto said it plans to lend 360 million pounds to residential developers in London and the south of England over the next four years.

“We clearly see the difficulty that homebuilders small and large alike are facing in getting full funding for quality schemes with planning consents,” Chad Pike, senior managing director at Blackstone, said in the statement. Pluto is able to “complete transactions quickly and to efficiently manage loan disbursements and construction oversight,” he said.

A shortfall across the U.K. helped house prices rise for a 15th straight month in March, Nationwide Building Society said April 2. Values in London climbed to more than double the national average. England needs 250,000 new houses and apartments a year to meet demand, according to Shelter, a charity for the homeless. Developers built about 108,000 homes in the year through November, according to the Office for National Statistics.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Gower in London at pgower@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew Blackman at ablackman@bloomberg.net Jeffrey St.Onge

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