RNS Number : 9244A
Empiric Student Property PLC
07 June 2021
7 June 2021
Empiric Student Property plc
("Empiric" or the "Company" or, together with its subsidiaries,
TRADING AND BUSINESS UPDATE
BOOKINGS FOR ACADEMIC YEAR 2021/22 GRADUALLY ACCELERATING
EXETER ASSET SALE AHEAD OF BOOK VALUE
Empiric Student Property plc (ticker: ESP), the owner and
operator of premium student accommodation across the UK, announces
an update on trading and the business, and the recent completion of
the sale of a non-core property in Exeter.
Bookings and market update
All our buildings remain open, staffed, maintained, and
operating strictly in line with Government guidance and
regulations. We are continuing to work closely with students,
universities and wider stakeholders, and by following Government
guidance we are ensuring that our residents, colleagues, business
partners and the communities in which we operate remain safe and
secure, and their wellbeing remains our focus.
Adjusting for the support we have provided to students since
January 2021, as a result of the third national lockdown, revenue
occupancy for the current 2020/21 academic year remains at 65%. The
collection of rents remains in line with our usual collection
profile and the physical occupancy level in our buildings is
currently approximately 67% of total operational rooms.
Current bookings for the 2021/22 academic year are 40%, whilst
lower at this point than in pre Covid-19 cycles, we continue to see
bookings gradually accelerate. We expect the sales cycle for the
2021/22 academic year to be significantly back ended as the
benefits of the lifting of restrictions by the UK Government take
effect. Together with the success of the vaccination programme and
the recent UCAS applications, this gives us cautious optimism about
a return to increasingly normal levels of occupancy. UCAS
applications for the 2021/22 academic year show encouraging growth,
with the non-EU international market up by 17% overall, and within
this, Chinese applications are up by 21%. UK domestic applications
show strong demand growth of 11%.
Sale of non-core asset in Exeter ahead of latest book value
The GBP11.05 million sale of an asset in Exeter is ahead of the
latest book value at 31 December 2020 and is in line with the
Group's strategy to dispose over the short to medium term of around
GBP100 million of non-core assets.
Good progress on increasing our focus on ESG
As a business, we are committed to creating and operating a
responsible and sustainable business, which will deliver further
sustainable value for all our stakeholders.
As previously announced, we launched a Board level ESG
Committee, which is working with the Senior Leadership Team on
projects that further improve the sustainability of our operational
business and ways in which we can be more environmentally
supportive and deliver further positive social impact. Our
benchmarking exercise and materiality assessment work is largely
complete, with good progress being made on developing the Group's
sustainability roadmap and formalising our ESG strategy. We expect
to update further on this at our half year results for the six
months ending 30 June 2021, that we expect to announce on Thursday,
12 August 2021.
Duncan Garrood, Chief Executive Officer of Empiric Student
Property plc, said:
"We are encouraged that bookings for the 2021/22 academic year
continue to gradually accelerate, although with bookings to date at
40% we remain behind pre-Covid-19 cycles.
The successful vaccination programme, the ongoing lifting of
restrictions and the encouraging recent UCAS applications for the
2021/22 academic year, leave us cautiously optimistic about a
return to more usual occupancy levels, albeit with sales expected
to be significantly back ended for the forthcoming academic year.
Furthermore, we remain confident that our strongly differentiated
premium accommodation for students and Hello Student(R) brand
proposition and offer provide us with a compelling competitive
advantage, especially in a Covid-19 affected world.
We are also pleased to have completed the GBP11.05 million sale
of a non-core asset in Exeter ahead of the latest book value as at
31 December 2020, which brings the total value of asset sales this
year to GBP18 million."
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY, PLEASE CONTACT:
Empiric Student Property plc (via Maitland/AMO below)
D uncan Garrood (Chief Executive
Lynne Fennah (Chief Financial &
Jefferies International Limited 020 7029 8000
S tuart Klein
RBC Europe Limited (trading as
RBC Capital Markets) 020 7653 4000
M aitland/AMO (Communications
Adviser) 0 7747 113 930
James Benjamin email@example.com
The Company's LEI is 213800FPF38IBPRFPU87.
Further information on Empiric can be found on the Company's
website at www.empiric.co.uk .
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 attracts affluent growing
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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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 07, 2021 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT)
Empiric Student Property (LSE:ESP)
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Empiric Student Property (LSE:ESP)
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