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Empiric's Portfolio Increases to £721.3m

Posted by Richard Ward in

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Empiric Student Property has reported an increase in its property portfolio of 37.7% over the past 6 months to £721.3 million.

The student accommodation specialists have released their latest financials for the six-month period ending 31 December 2016, during which operating profit was recorded as £20.2 million.

During the period 14 new assets were contracted, totalling 1,142 beds, taking the group's portfolio to 8,504 beds across 89 assets in 30 UK towns and cities. The company aims to maintain its expansion to meet its IPO target of 10,000 beds within five years.

The company reported an average valuation yield on its portfolio of operating assets at 31 December 2016 of 5.9% compared with average yield on acquisition or cost of 6.5%.

During the period they saw its Hello Student brand manage 3,075 beds as at 31 December 2016, while the group is targeting a rental uplift of 2.5% for the 2017/18 academic year.

In the past 6-months 143.4 million of new debt was raised through two new facilities, resulting in a Loan to Value ratio of 31.1%, compared to a target of between 35-40%.

The company also made a substantial change to its investment policy in December last year, increasing the type of student accommodation investments the group can make. This included the lifting of the restriction that developments must be forward funded. This change is expected to allow the company to develop additional purpose-built student accommodation, whilst reducing its third-party developer risk.

Empiric also noted it will work more closely with higher education institutions to assist them in addressing the accommodation needs of the student population and is targeting a dividend of 6.1p per share for the 12 months to 30 June 2017.