Unite Reports Record Bookings for New Academic Year
Britain’s largest private student halls provider, The Unite Group, has reported record bookings for the upcoming academic year.
The company says the market has bounced back after a dip last year in the wake of the government hiking tuition fees.
Unite cites high levels of customer service as the reason for many students rebooking accommodation and recommending the company to friends.
Compared with last year, rental growth has gone up 1.2% and reached around 90% of available beds in many cities.
The company also has £215 million equity funding available for building more accommodation on top of the money already in place for properties under construction.
Pre-tax profits were up 12.5% from £14.4 million to £16.6 million.
The share price climbed to 361p, compared with 350p at the start of the year.
Unite said equity funding is also in place for a further £215 million development programme, in addition to the secured pipeline.
Chief executive Mark Allan said: “The business has continued to perform strongly in 2013 with solid growth in earnings and healthy demand for accommodation for the 2013/14 university year. We expect this positive performance to be sustained for the full year and the rental growth outlook for the remainder of 2013 and into 2014 is encouraging.
“Longer term, the business is well positioned for continued growth in earnings and NAV. The demand/supply dynamics of our sector remain supportive, our competitive position and brand are strong and we have capital available to invest selectively in attractive opportunities.”
“We expect the 2013/14 student intake to be at least 30,000 higher than 2012/13, an increase of 6%, and with limited new supply of accommodation in most areas of the UK this should translate into high occupancy and robust rental growth.”
Unite has 130 properties in 23 university towns and cities across the UK housing more than 40,000 students.
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