1. I would really love to invest for my children. Can I put the investment in their name?
Yes, you can invest for your children. If your children are under the age of 16, they will need to be purchased under the buyer’s name. The shares can be transferred to them to hold in their own right once they have reached their sixteenth birthday. If a sizeable sum is invested, and you would like the share-holding to form part of a trust, we would recommend seeking independent legal and financial advice. We have more specific questions and answers related to trusts and bequeathing shares in this Q&A piece.
2. Will there be tax to pay on shares that I leave to my children?
Usually a gift needs to be made at least 7 years before death occurs to become entirely free of IHT. Southill Community Energy does however qualify for exception from Inheritance Tax under Business Relief for Inheritance Tax (assuming you survive your investment by 2 years.). You can read more about this on the Gov.Uk website and also read the inheritance tax handbook at Communityshares.org.uk. We of course strongly advise all investors to seek independent advice in this area.
3. In the share offer document (page 22), it says I am at risk of losing 5% of my investment if the project does not meet its target equity raise. Should I be worried?
This is possible but unlikely. A lot has happened since the publication of the share offer document and we have been working hard to secure the finance for the project so that the solar farm can be built regardless of how much equity has been raised. We are working through the various financing options available to us and are confident that we will be able to get the scheme up and running without our investors losing out. We will share news and update investors soon.
4. I am nervous about investing because the ETHEX Website says the loan hasn’t been secured.
Project finance debt is taken to make up the difference between equity raised and total project cost. This will be negotiated after the equity raise is closed because securing debt is contingent on the capital investment from the local community and/or other sources. The banks will agree an Indicative Heads of Terms prior to the equity being secured but would not sign specific heads of terms until the business has everything in place to give confidence that the loans will be repaid. This is why investments via the Ethex website are so important. To reassure you, the team has every confidence in the financing of this project - all the key negotiations for our funding routes are taking place, including bridging finance and alternative construction finance. If you have any further questions on this, please do not hesitate to contact us.
5. You’ve got planning permission for a project on the Cornbury Estate but no formal land agreement. This seems risky to me as a potential investor.
There is no reason to be concerned in this instance. It is normal practice for developers to take out an ‘option’ on the land, which is a legal agreement drawn up by lawyers. This can cost thousands of pounds. Given our strong relationship with Lord Rotherwick of the Cornbury Estate, who is very committed to our project, and our own commitment to run “a tight ship”, we have relied on an exclusivity agreement since February 2013 and a more recent Letter of Intent, including Heads of Terms, to give us the security we need to take the project forward. The full lease is now in draft, including those Heads of Terms, for us to review and we expect it to be signed shortly.
6. 25 years is a long time to put the money put away. I may need to access that sum sooner.
Yes, this is a medium to long-term investment and may not suit investors who need ready access to the funds. However, do consider;
We will start to repay capital invested from year six.
For those that wish to withdraw some or all of their investment you can of course apply to the Directors and every effort will be made to meet investor needs, subject to the availability of cash in the business.
7. We want to put our money away for the full term and are considering making it part of our pension plan. Is the scheme eligible for a Self Invested Personal Pension?
Yes, if you already have a SIPP then you can invest in Southill shares in the same way that you might invest in any other shares. Again, we would recommend seeking independent advice.
Any more questions? Do visit the investor page on this website to find out more where you will find more information on the financial returns and more general information for families considering investing. Lastly, if you're still looking for reasons to invest, why not dip into the blog where you will find our Investor Stories series.
Lastly, of course, if you can't find your answers here, then please do not hesitate to contact us.