Big Yellow, the FTSE 250 storage company, has delivered an eight per cent rise in adjusted profit before tax, prompting a 0.5p rise in the final dividend for the year ended March 31st.
Pre-tax profit for the period totalled £25.5m (2012 £23.6m) on revenue of £69.7m (2012 £65.7m), driven by occupancy growth in the first half, and increased business and consumer confidence in the lead-up to the Olympics.
However, the seasonally weaker quarter to December was further affected by a combination of a softening in the macroeconomy in the period after the Olympics and prices increases to its domestic customers of 10-25%, resulting from the imposition of VAT on its storage rents. The enviroment stabilised in the final quarter, resulting in a return to growth in net occupancy.
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The adjusted net asset value per share for the year was 419.2p compared to 422.7p in 2012.
Like-for-like revenue per available foot climbed from £19.43 to £20.25 year-on-year.
The final dividend was incrased 0.5p to 6.0p, giving a total dividend of 11p, up from 10p the previous year.
Nicholas Vetch, Executive Chairman of Big Yellow, said: "We achieved a solid level of revenue growth, despite the imposition of VAT, and have also delivered against our principal financial aims of growing cash flow, earnings and dividend. This is testament to our successful operating model with a strong brand, market-leading digital platform and our focus on large metropolitan areas, particularly in London and the South East.
"Much has been achieved since 2007; 23 new purpose-built stores have been opened, significant operational improvements have been made, and the brand has emerged as the unquestionable market leader.
"This makes us confident that, on a medium to long term view, we will deliver substantially more of our full potential as we build occupancy and yield in our stores. The pace at which this will be achieved will depend in part on external factors, including the wider economy, housing transactions, new business formation and investment. Whilst there remain challenges around these factors, we allow ourselves for the first time in a few years, to enjoy a little more optimism."
The group delivered a statutory profit before tax for the year of £31.9m, compared to a loss of £35.6m last year. The prior year loss reflected the decrease in the valuation of the group's open stores principally caused by the valuer's assessment of the impact of the imposition of VAT on self storage from October 1st 2012. The valuation of the investment property portfolio in the year is broadly in line with the prior year.
Gearing was reduced over the 12 month period and net bank debt at the year-end totalled £230.5m (2012: £273.9m).
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