Student landlord enjoys rise in value

Kasmira Jefford
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BRITAIN’S largest student landlord Unite saw its net asset value (NAV) increase by eight per cent a share last year, driven by strong rental growth and development activity.

Chief executive Mark Allan said the group’s NAV of 318p would have been higher if it were not for a £21m charge it incurred for closing its manufacturing arm Unite Modular Solutions (UMS).

Profits increased to £11m in the year to 31 December, up from £4m in 2010, by achieving 99 per cent occupancy for the 2011–2012 academic year.

The group, which manages 40,000 student beds across Britain, said reservations across its portfolio for the 2012/13 academic year stood at 59 per cent of available rooms compared to 62 per cent in 2011.

Allan said the fall in reservation levels was largely explained by the one-off rush to secure accommodation in 2011 as applications surged ahead of the rise in tuition fees.

“Demand for 2012–2013 university places is outstripping supply and will result in a shortfall of at least 160,000 places,” he said.

Unite’s development pipeline is on track to deliver a further £40m of net asset value uplift by December 2014 as the outlook for 2012 remains good.

The group has signed a 15-year agreement with King’s College to take 97 per cent of Moonraker Point, its 671 room development in Southwark, which is due to be completed before the start of the academic year. It aims to deliver 4,000 bedrooms in London by 2014.

The group also reinstated its full-year dividend of 1.75p per share.

Shares rose 5.8 per cent to 195.8p.