17 October 2016
THE UNITE GROUP PLC
("Unite Students", "Unite", the "Group", or the "Company")
UNITE STUDENTS SECURES PLANNING CONSENT FOR LIVERPOOL SITE
Unite Students, the UK's leading developer and manager of student accommodation, has secured a planning consent for a development in the centre of Liverpool for 1,085 student bedrooms. The total development pipeline, to be delivered in the next three years, is now over 5,000 beds providing further visibility to our earnings growth outlook.
The new scheme will be built alongside our Grand Central student village, which is 99% let for the 2016/17 academic year, and will provide a home for over 2,500 students in the new combined building. This will increase our presence in a key market for Unite Students and we will continue to drive efficiencies from the scale of the building and from our new operating system PRISM.
The new property will provide a well-located student hub serving the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University, close to Liverpool's Lime Street station and the new university student campus. It is anticipated that the new development will be open in time for the 2019/20 academic year.
The site was acquired in April 2016 and planning has been delivered in under six months. The scheme is expected to achieve returns in line with Unite's targets for regional development and will contribute approximately two pence per share to EPRA Earnings once it is completed and occupied. The total development cost, including the cost of the land, is expected to be approximately £70 million. The delivery of the scheme will be funded by internally generated sources and will continue to drive the Group's earnings visibility and NAV growth.
Richard Simpson, Managing Director of Property for Unite Students, commented: "We are delighted to have secured planning consent for this site in Liverpool, which is one of the UK's most popular university cities, with a growing student population and where we have significant experience having operated for over 15 years. This development will help to meet the strong demand for student accommodation and provide a safe and secure home for students. We will continue to progress our secured pipeline which remains focused on regional locations with strong student markets."
For further information, please contact:
Joe Lister, Chief Financial Officer
Felicity Cowie, Senior Public & Corporate Communications Manager
Tel: +44 117 302 7240
Tel: +44 20 3772 2562
Notes to editors:
About Unite Students
Unite Students is the UK's largest and most established manager and developer of purpose-built student accommodation. It provides a home for around 50,000 students, in more than 140 properties, across 28 leading university cities in England and Scotland. Unite works in partnership with more than 60 Higher Education institutions and also lets rooms directly to students.
Unite's purpose is to provide a home to its culturally-diverse customers, offering them a strong foundation for academic and personal success. The accommodation is high quality, safe and close to university campuses, transport links and local amenities. Students live in ensuite study bedrooms with rents covering all bills, insurance, 24-hour security, fortnightly cleaning of communal kitchens and bathrooms and high speed Wi-Fi.
Founded in 1991 in Bristol, The Unite Group plc is a FTSE250 company, listed on the London Stock Exchange, employing more than 1,250 people. It pursues a sustainable growth strategy, designed to make the most of the resilient nature of the student accommodation sector. Unite is focused on maintaining its position as the leading provider of student accommodation in the UK, by having the best brand, operating the highest quality portfolio and maintaining the strongest capital structure in the sector. This is achieved with consistent investment in, and improvement to, the operating platform; highly selective development activity and asset management initiatives.
Unite is invested in and operates a small number of specialist funds and joint ventures with institutional investment partners, the largest of which is the £2 billion Unite UK Student Accommodation Fund (USAF).
Unite is the founder and major donor of the Unite Foundation. Since 2012 this has provided free student accommodation and financial support to 160 young people in the UK who lack family support.
This information is provided by RNS