TIDMESP

RNS Number : 6495B

Empiric Student Property PLC

15 February 2022

15 February 2022

Empiric Student Property plc

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

ACQUISITION OF NEW PURPOSE-BUILT STUDENT ACCOMMODATION ASSET IN PRIME CITY CENTRE LOCATION IN BRISTOL FOR GBP19.0 MILLION

Empiric Student Property plc (ticker: ESP), the owner and operator of premium student accommodation across the UK, is pleased to announce that it has acquired the freehold of a new 92-bed purpose-built studio asset in a prime location in Bristol city centre from McLaren Property for GBP19.0 million. The purchase price is being funded from the Company's existing resources.

The property, which was completed in September 2021, has 100% of the beds let for the current academic year, and it is in line with our strategy of driving operational performance and returns through clustering our properties serving key UK universities, which have strong and growing fundamentals. Currently, Empiric has two operational assets in Bristol (159 beds), with a third in development (153 beds) that is due to be completed in time for the academic year 2022/23. With this acquisition, we will have a total of 404 beds in the city for the academic year 2022/23.

Bristol has the 10(th) largest student population outside of London, with a high and increasing number of domestic and international students wanting to attend the fast-growing University of Bristol. This is supporting strong and increasing demand for high quality student accommodation, which, together with persisting supply constraints in the city, has led to robust rental growth, that is expected to continue.

The property, on Baldwin Street, is in a prime city centre location close to the University of Bristol and the Company's other assets in the city. The property is a new high-quality purpose-built construction behind a retained façade, developed by McLaren Property with strong ESG credentials and built to the latest regulatory standards. It has an EPC B rating and is BREEAM Very Good certified, with a range of energy saving initiatives and wellbeing measures. The 92 studio beds are all designed with students in mind with high-specification fixtures and fittings, each with en-suite bathrooms and fitted kitchens. There are high-quality communal areas and facilities throughout the property, as well as an ancillary commercial unit.

The purchase price of the asset reflects a net initial yield of 4.75% on acquisition with significant reversionary potential for the forthcoming academic year, through identified opportunities to capture market rents as well as letting the commercial unit.

We will be responsible for the marketing and letting of the property for the forthcoming academic year, with the property to be direct let through our Hello Student(R) in-house operating platform and brand.

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

"We are pleased to acquire this new purpose-built studio asset in a prime location in Bristol city centre, strengthening our presence in this key university city and ensuring that we are in an enhanced position to cater for the strong and increasing numbers of both domestic and international students wanting to attend the University of Bristol .

We see significant opportunities to deliver operational efficiencies and enhanced income and capital returns from this asset over the short and longer term, supported by our Hello Student(R) brand and operating platform, our clustering strategy and the ongoing attractive demand/supply fundamentals in Bristol, in addition to letting the retail unit."

John Gatley, Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Property, said:

"We are delighted to have completed the sale of this high-quality fully-let Bristol city centre asset to Empiric, demonstrating that well-located and high-quality student accommodation remains in high demand from both students and investors. We look forward to continuing to build relationships with Empiric and other institutions as we expand our development pipeline across key university cities."

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 
 Tom Yeadon 
  Andrew Morris 
 
 RBC Europe Limited (trading as RBC 
  Capital Markets)                            020 7653 4000 
 Charlie Foster 
  Marcus Jackson 
 
                                              07747 113 930 / 020 7379 
 Maitland/AMO (Communications Adviser)         5151 
 James Benjamin                               empiric-maitland@maitland.co.uk 
  Alistair de Kare-silver 
 
 

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.

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February 15, 2022 01:59 ET (06:59 GMT)

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