Unite Group Portfolio Value Hit By Covid-19 Rent Cancellations

(Alliance News) - Student accommodation provider Unite Group PLC on Thursday said its ...

Alliance News 8 April, 2020 | 10:44AM
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(Alliance News) - Student accommodation provider Unite Group PLC on Thursday said its reservations ahead of the new academic year are at similar levels than at 2019, but warned it could be hurt by virus-enforced travel restrictions reducing numbers of international learners.

Reservations for the 2020/21 financial year are currently 79%, in line with the same period last year.

"However, we recognise there is a risk that travel restrictions imposed to combat coronavirus result in a reduced intake of international students for 2020/21," Unite said.

The company added that it is "shifting" its marketing emphasis to target domestic students and international students who are already at least one year into a course.

Its portfolio value fell 2.2% on a like-for-like basis to GBP2.79 billion during the quarter, Unite said.

Chief Financial Officer Joe Lister said: "Our decision to forgo rent for students who choose to return home for the remainder of the current academic year as a result of the coronavirus crisis has impacted valuations for the period. However, we are confident that our actions will ensure that we emerge from this uniquely challenging period with our reputation with students and universities, not only protected but enhanced.

"Over the coming weeks we will have greater visibility over the income we expect to receive for the summer semester of 2019/20."

Unite in March said it will not charge rent for students who do not stay in their accommodation for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. This would cost the company between GBP90 million and GBP125 million.

Unite shares were 0.1% lower at 811.50 pence each in London on Wednesday morning.

By Eric Cunha; ericcunha@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2020 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
UNITE Group PLC 950.00 GBX -1.25 -

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