Lloyds Development Capital has paid £307m (€403.2m) for a group of exhibition centres in the UK.

Macquarie Lending acted as lead arranger, structuring a six-and-a-half year facility for the deal to buy the NEC Group from Birmingham City Council.

LDC, which typically invests up to £100m in MBOs, IBOs and development capital, has invested in financial services, healthcare, industrials, retail and travel.

RBS provided a working capital facility as part of the deal.

Macquarie said it would keep a significant holding until maturity.

Birmingham had put the group on the market last year as part of efforts to balance its books.

The business includes live exhibition, arena and conference venues; the National Exhibition Centre, the Genting Arena, the Barclaycard Arena (formerly the National Indoor Arena) and the International Convention Centre.

Macquarie Lending said it has provided more than €7bn in new loan commitments in Europe since 2009, with €1.7bn in the last 12 months, completing more than 485 investments.

It also has ongoing interests in 85 UK businesses.

Birmingham rose 14 positions in popularity among investors, according to a report released this week

The Emerging Trends in Real Estate Europe 2015, published jointly by the Urban Land Institute and PwC, found that investors were continuing to move into secondary assets and recovering markets as a way of accessing better returns.