Tate borrows £55m for building projects

Renovations and expansions at both London Tates have been costly, and loans were required to bridge gaps in cashflow


London. The Tate has been given special permission to borrow £55m to complete the expansion of Tate Modern and the renovation of Tate Britain. The two lenders are the Royal Bank of Scotland and a fund set up by the Mayor of London.

Last year, the Tate Foundation (the Tate’s main fundraising charity) undertook to provide £120m towards the two building projects. It has organised the “bridging” loans because of a lag in the payment of promised donations.

The Tate acts as a guarantor on behalf of the Tate Foundation, so approval for the new loans had to be sought from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, since the Tate is a national museum.

The Tate now has a cashflow facility with the Royal Bank of Scotland for £35.2m for five years (extendable to a sixth year). It has also taken out a £19.8m loan from Amber Green Leef (London Energy Efficiency Fund), which was set up by the Mayor of London to lend money to projects that promote energy efficiency. This is repayable between 2015 and 2017.

A spokeswoman for the Tate describes the loans as “a straightforward arrangement to ensure that we cover the cashflow gap between the need for cash to pay contractors and the fulfilment of firm pledges”.

The building project at Tate Britain, which is due to be completed next month, cost an estimated £45m. Tate Modern’s ten-storey extension is due to open in 2016. Of the £215m cost, £183m has been pledged.