TIDMESP

RNS Number : 2712R

Empiric Student Property PLC

04 November 2021

4 November 2021

Empiric Student Property plc

("Empiric" or the "Company" or, together with its subsidiaries, the "Group")

BUSINESS AND TRADING UPDATE

Empiric Student Property plc (ticker: ESP), the owner and operator of premium student accommodation across the UK, is pleased to provide a business and trading update.

Duncan Garrood, Chief Executive Officer of Empiric Student Property plc, said:

"We are making good progress on our strategic plan, with occupancy demand for our rooms continuing to grow. Whilst travel restrictions have affected some students' ability to confirm their arrangements, we are pleased that revenue occupancy of 81% at the start of the AY21/22 falls within the guidance we gave in August this year. We expect to pay a dividend of at least 2.5 pence for the financial year 2022, which is ahead of our previously stated guidance of a minimum of 1.5 pence for our financial year 2022, all else remaining equal. Progress on asset disposal continues to be positive and we will further update the market in due course."

Academic year 2021/22

We have achieved a good performance at the start of the academic year 2021/22 ("AY21/22") with 81% revenue occupancy across our portfolio (AY20/21 70%). This is in line with our AY21/22 guidance range provided on 12 August 2021 of between 75% to 85% revenue occupancy.

Our 81% occupancy includes just over 1% of occupancy from students still to check-in between now and January 2022. We have a good level of visibility over these bookings with students having re-confirmed their intention to occupy the accommodation. We continue to see a pipeline of additional bookings with a start date in January 2022 onwards from both direct let customers as well as universities, where several discussions are already underway.

We have collected 98% of rent due this term for the AY21/22.

The Group currently has a greater proportion of UK students in its mix resulting from our targeted marketing, now representing 46% of bookings, the balance being 27% Chinese and 27% other international. This compares to our pre-pandemic breakdown of approximately one third each for UK, Chinese and other international.

Travel restrictions continue to have an effect on demand from China and some of our other international markets, where record numbers of new undergraduate students have not yet fully translated into bookings. For students needing to self-isolate on arrival in the UK, we have supported students with a comprehensive quarantine package and offered two free weeks of accommodation as well as providing food, laundry services and making arrangements for testing so that they were able to self-isolate without any difficulties at no extra cost .

Capital expenditure

The two pilot refurbishments in Bristol and Leeds have been successfully completed, and we are pleased that all upgraded rooms have been let at higher rental levels that are in line with our expectations.

Dividends

As announced on 29 October 2021, we are now pleased to recommence dividend payments, which we suspended in March 2020 due to the uncertainty arising from the COVID pandemic. The payment due on 3 December 2021 of 2.5 pence comprises the PID distribution requirement of 1 pence per share for the financial year 2019 and 1.5 pence per share for 2020.

Regular dividend payments are expected to be re-instated from 1 January 2022, paid quarterly, and will be fully covered and progressive in nature. Given our 81% revenue occupancy for AY21/22 and assuming no further impact from COVID, the Board is expecting to pay a dividend of at least 2.5 pence for the financial year 2022, ahead of the guidance we gave on 12 August 2021, where we stated that we intend to start paying a minimum dividend of 1.5 pence per share per annum in 2022, with a view to increasing this as occupancy levels normalise.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY, PLEASE CONTACT:

 
 Empiric Student Property plc                  (via Maitland/AMO below) 
 Duncan Garrood (Chief Executive Officer) 
 Lynne Fennah (Chief Financial & Operating 
  Officer) 
 
 Jefferies International Limited               020 7029 8000 
 Stuart Klein 
 Tom Yeadon 
 
 RBC Europe Limited (trading as RBC Capital 
  Markets)                                     020 7653 4000 
 Charlie Foster 
  Marcus Jackson 
 
 Maitland/AMO (Communications Adviser)         07747 113 930 
 James Benjamin                                empiric-maitland@maitland.co.uk 
 
 

The Company's LEI is 213800FPF38IBPRFPU87.

Further information on Empiric can be found on the Company's website at www.empiric.co.uk .

Notes:

Empiric Student Property plc is a leading provider and operator of modern, predominantly direct-let, premium student accommodation located in high-demand university towns and cities across the UK. Investing in both operating and development assets, Empiric is a fully integrated operational student property business focused on premium studio-led accommodation managed through its Hello Student(R) operating platform, that is attractive to affluent growing student segments.

The Company, an internally managed real estate investment trust ("REIT") incorporated in England and Wales, listed on the premium listing segment of the Official List of the Financial Conduct Authority and was admitted to trading on the main market for listed securities of the London Stock Exchange in June 2014.

This information is provided by RNS, the news service of the London Stock Exchange. RNS is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a Primary Information Provider in the United Kingdom. Terms and conditions relating to the use and distribution of this information may apply. For further information, please contact rns@lseg.com or visit www.rns.com.

RNS may use your IP address to confirm compliance with the terms and conditions, to analyse how you engage with the information contained in this communication, and to share such analysis on an anonymised basis with others as part of our commercial services. For further information about how RNS and the London Stock Exchange use the personal data you provide us, please see our Privacy Policy.

END

TSTUPGMGGUPGGMW

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 04, 2021 02:59 ET (06:59 GMT)

Empiric Student Property (LSE:ESP)
Gráfica de Acción Histórica
De Abr 2022 a May 2022 Haga Click aquí para más Gráficas Empiric Student Property.
Empiric Student Property (LSE:ESP)
Gráfica de Acción Histórica
De May 2021 a May 2022 Haga Click aquí para más Gráficas Empiric Student Property.