AGM statement and trading update – 11 May 2017
Unite Students, the UK’s leading manager and developer of student accommodation, issues a Trading Update for the period from 1 January 2017 to date, ahead of its Annual General Meeting to be held today at 10.00 am.
The business continues to perform strongly in 2017 with good levels of demand for our accommodation from students from the UK, the EU and other international students. This demand has translated into a strong lettings performance, with reservations at 82% at 11 May (80% in 2016) at pricing that is supportive of like for like rental growth of 3.0-3.5%.
We have made good progress in enhancing the quality of the portfolio, recycling £434 million from the sale of non-core assets (Unite share: £170 million, against a Unite share target of £150-£200 million for the year), which will be used to fund our development pipeline through to the end of 2019. The development pipeline now totals over 7,000 beds in strong university locations and is expected to add 12-14p of earnings per share when completed and fully let. We are continuing to see further development opportunities for 2020 and beyond.
We have also made positive progress following the acquisition of our first major on-campus portfolio at Aston University with reservations across the property already at over 90% for the 2017/18 academic year. These reservations are under-pinned by a new nomination agreement with Aston University for 1,950 beds; with the remaining beds let directly to students. This initial one-year nomination agreement for our first full year of operation was agreed in a short time period and is the first stage of a long-term strategic relationship between the University and Unite Students.
Richard Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Unite Students, commented:
“We have made excellent progress in the first four months of the year, not only in the progression of our development pipeline, but in strengthening our relationships with Universities and continuing to demonstrate how our market leading operating platform enables great customer service. Our lettings for 2017/18 are substantially under-pinned and given the ongoing high demand for quality accommodation from students and Universities alike, we remain confident in the outlook for the remainder of the year and beyond.”
For further information, please contact:
Joe Lister, Chief Financial Officer
Caroline Hall, PA to Chief Financial Officer
Tel: +44 117 302 7005
Tel: +44 20 3772 2562