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VUB university turns to the stock market to raise funds
The Free University of Brussels (VUB) was launched on the Brussels stock exchange Alternext last Friday. The university has issued bonds and raised about €61 million.
A bond is a debt investment in which an investor loans money to an entity, which borrows the funds at an interest rate for a defined period. VUB is the first university in Europe to carry out such an initiative.
The institution will use the money to fund infrastructure projects at its Etterbeek campus. By 2018, VUB wants to have 650 student rooms, 3,500 square metres of additional classroom and lab space and a “culture tower”, with a concert venue and exhibition spaces.
“Our number of students and researchers has increased for seven years in a row,” VUB rector Paul De Knop told Radio 1. “We want to offer them the ideal infrastructure, but the government doesn’t have the financial means to help us; so we have to be inventive.” VUB has also organised fundraising projects and financed buildings through private-public collaborations.
Candidate-investors have to put minimum €250,000 on the table. The bonds cannot be bought by citizens, only by institutional investors.