LONDON (SHARECAST) - Student accommodation provider UNITE said recurring profits from operations doubled to £14.4m in the half year to 30 June amid high occupancy levels across the entire portfolio.
Adjusted, diluted NAV per share climbed 5.3% to 335p while adjusted earnings per share increased 190% to 9p. Like for like rental grew 1.8% during the six months since December 2011.
Current reservations for 2012/13 are at 87% compared to 89% in 2011 when there was a surge of applications ahead of increased tuition fees and 87% in 2010. UNITE said it was on track for 3-4 per cent full year rental growth.
Chief Executive Mark Allan said: "During the first half of 2012, the business has built on the strong operational momentum created in 2011. High occupancy, solid rental growth and cost efficiencies have underpinned a further significant improvement in the group's profitability."
"The healthy level of forward reservations and the successful completion of our 2012 development pipeline suggests this will be maintained for the full year," he added.
Unite said significant achievements in asset sales and the arrangement or extension of important debt facilities mean that the group's financial position continues to strengthen. It has a new £121m 10-year senior debt facility arranged with Legal and General.
Commenting on the trading environment it said: "The UK economy remains challenging and we continue to be vigilant to the risks that are present as a result. However, demand for UK University places, and consequently accommodation, continues to be strong and UNITE remains well placed for the future."
Furthermore with the 2014 London development pipeline committed and with 2012 completions it is on track to deliver £44m of NAV uplift (27p per share) by December 2014.
The interim dividend has been increased to 1p pence per share, up from 0.5p.
The full year dividend is expected to represent 25% of net portfolio contribution.