Unite sees increase in student demand

THE Unite Group, the UK’s largest student housing provider, hiked its total dividend for the year as it reported an increase in demand for student accommodation in its latest annual results.
Sky PlazaSky Plaza
Sky Plaza

The group, which currently manages six student properties with 3,142 beds in Leeds, including Sky Plaza, and eight properties with 3,731 beds in Sheffield, said that room reservations for 2013/14 were at 62 per cent as of March 5 this year, up from 59 per cent in 2012.

It also said that student numbers for the 2013/14 academic year were likely to increase by 25,000 to 30,000 after “positive Government policy announcements” and 3.5 per cent year-on-year growth in applications for university via Ucas.

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The group welcomed Government measures including the introduction of no restriction on the number of students achieving AAB grades or better at A-level or equivalent that universities can recruit.

The group said adjusted earnings per share were up 280 per cent to 9.9p, from 2.6p in 2011. Adjusted net asset value per share was up 10 per cent to 350p, from 318p in 2011.

Final dividend increased to 3p per share, from 1.25p in 2011, making 4p for the full year.

Mark Allan, chief executive of The Unite Group, spoke of the “continued appeal of the student accomodation sector for UK and international investors”.