Student digs group Unite confident of profits rise

August 26, 2011

Student accommodation firm Unite has said its annual profits could beat market expectations as it continues to expand in the face of challenges in the higher education sector.

The Bristol-based firm, which manages properties for 40,000 students across the UK, is also in exclusive talks to acquire further sites in London that would add another 1,200 to its portfolio, helping it hit its 2014 target of 4,000.

Chief executive Mark Allan told Reuters: "We're seeing particularly strong demand for our rooms for the 2011/12 academic year, that means rental growth will be firmly in the (3-4%) range, possibly towards the top of the range.

"We are firmly on track, on the profit side arguably there's some potential to outperform."

Reservations across Unite's portfolio were at 89% at Aug. 23, up from 87% from a year earlier.

JPMorgan Cazenove analysts said Unite was on track to beat its £8.4m full-year profit estimate.

The company also said it would pay an interim dividend of 0.5p a share on November 11. Unite suspended its dividend in 2009 and 2010.


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