Unite raises dividend as profits surge

Student accommodation group Unite Group more than doubled its dividend for 2012 after a strong financial performance which saw profits soar.

Student accommodation group Unite Group more than doubled its dividend for 2012 after a strong financial performance which saw profits soar.

New openings and rental growth helped push total income from the managed portfolio from £219.5m to £240.2m last year, lifting the net portfolio contribution from £11.0m to £19.1m. Adjusted net asset value per share rose 10% from 318p to 350p.

Profit before tax rose to £126.2m, from just £4.7m the year before, helped by £58 in valuation gains and a £49.7m positive impact of transferring stock properties to investment assets. Meanwhile, the prior year was hit by £21m of trading and closure costs of its manufacturing facility, UMS.

Adjusted earnings per share soared from 2.6p to 9.9p in 2012.

The final dividend per share (DPS) was increased from 1.25p to 3.0p, bringing the full-year DPS to 4.0p, well ahead of the 1.75p payout in 2011.

"2012 was a year of continued momentum for UNITE, with the benefits of the work we have done to enhance our business model and strengthen our footprint in the sector reflected in our financial results," said Chief Executive Mark Allan.

"In light of the progress made during the year and our strong performance across all our key financial metrics, we are pleased to announce a substantial increase in the total dividend for the year, demonstrating our confidence in the strength of our business and the prospects it offers for attractive future returns."

The company said it has a positive outlook for the industry with student numbers expected to increase by 25,000-30,000 in the 2013/14 academic year. Reservations for the next academic year were at 62% at March 5th, compared with 59% in 2012.

Shares were up 1.36% at 297.9p in early trading on Wednesday.

Recommended

Share tips of the week – 22 October
Share tips

Share tips of the week – 22 October

MoneyWeek’s comprehensive guide to the best of this week’s share tips from the rest of the UK's financial pages.
22 Oct 2021
Three dividend stocks from the dynamic Asia/Pacific region
Share tips

Three dividend stocks from the dynamic Asia/Pacific region

Professional investor Sat Duhra of the Henderson Far East Income investment trust highlights three of his favourite stocks.
18 Oct 2021
Share tips of the week – 15 October
Share tips

Share tips of the week – 15 October

MoneyWeek’s comprehensive guide to the best of this week’s share tips from the rest of the UK's financial pages.
15 Oct 2021
Trading: stash the family cash in this cheap wealth management firm
Trading

Trading: stash the family cash in this cheap wealth management firm

Wealth management is a growth market. Rathbone Brothers should be a prime beneficiary – and looks cheap. Matthew Partridge explains the best way to pl…
12 Oct 2021

Most Popular

Properties for sale for around £1m
Houses for sale

Properties for sale for around £1m

From a stone-built farmhouse in the Snowdonia National Park, to a Victorian terraced house close to London’s Regent’s Canal, eight of the best propert…
15 Oct 2021
How to invest as we move to a hydrogen economy
Energy

How to invest as we move to a hydrogen economy

The government has started to roll out its plans for switching us over from fossil fuels to hydrogen and renewable energy. Should investors buy in? St…
8 Oct 2021
How to invest in SMRs – the future of green energy
Energy

How to invest in SMRs – the future of green energy

The UK’s electricity supply needs to be more robust for days when the wind doesn’t blow. We need nuclear power, says Dominic Frisby. And the future of…
6 Oct 2021