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TOP NEWS: Unite Group lifts annual dividend by 48% as profit rises

28th Feb 2023 09:37

(Alliance News) - Unite Group PLC on Tuesday reported increases in both full-year revenue and profit as demand for student accommodation rises.

Shares were up 0.8% at 993.00 pence each on Tuesday morning in London.

Unite Group is a Bristol, England-based owner, manager and developer of purpose-built student accommodation.

For 2022, total rental income amounted to GBP241.7 million, up 16% from GBP209.0 million a year ago. Adjusted earnings rose 48% to GBP163.4 million from GBP110.1 million.

Pretax profit increased by 4.3% to GBP358.0 million from GBP343.1 million.

Unite Group noted 99% occupancy and 3.5% rental growth for the 2022/2023 academic year, up from 94% and 2.3% a year earlier.

Total revenue, however, dropped slightly by 2.8% to GBP259.3 million from GBP266.9 million, as cost of sales rose to GBP70.3 million from GBP64.4 million a year ago.

Chief Executive Richard Smith said: "We delivered a strong operational performance in 2022, with earnings and dividends surpassing their pre-pandemic level, driven by a return to full occupancy, improving rental growth and investment into our estate. The outlook for the business and the UK Higher Education sector is strong with demand underpinned by demographic growth, high application rates and increasing international student numbers."

The company declared a total dividend of 32.7 pence per share for the full year, up 48% from 22.1p a year prior.

Looking ahead, Unite Group said it sees strong demand for student accommodation, adding that 83% of rooms are now sold for the 2023/2024 academic year, significantly ahead of the prior year as well as pre-pandemic levels.

By Xindi Wei, Alliance News reporter

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