Unite Group forecasts an up to 20% decline in rental income

Unite Group forecasts an up to 20% decline in rental income
Written by:
Wajeeh Khan
8th October, 18:42
  • Unite Group forecasts an up to 20% decline in rental income.
  • The British firm refrains from reinstating its dividend payments.
  • Unite values its UK Student Accommodation Fund at £2.80 billion.

Unite Group plc (LON: UTG) said on Thursday that its property portfolio posted a 0.7% annualised growth in terms of valuation in the fiscal third quarter, attributed to the state-backed stimulus measures to combat the COVID-19 crisis. It also warned that its rental income is likely to see a decline in the upcoming months.

Shares of the company closed the regular session about 2.5% down on Thursday. Unite Group now has a per-share price of 863 pence versus a much lower 635 pence per share in March due to the Coronavirus disruptions. At the start of 2020, Unite Group was trading at a significantly higher 1,257 pence per share. Trading stocks online is easier than you think. Here’s how you can buy shares online in 2020.

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Unite values its UK Student Accommodation Fund at £2.80 billion

The student accommodation developer valued its Unite UK Student Accommodation Fund at £2.80 billion on Thursday. The London Student Accommodation Joint Venture, on the other hand, was valued at £1.32 billion. Financial services company, Hargreaves Lansdown, also published its first-quarter update on Thursday.

The British company attributed the increase in valuation to the stamp duty threshold that was temporarily lifted for residential properties in recent months. Excluding the stamp duty impact, valuation of Unite’s portfolios remained unchanged.

For the academic year 2020-2021, Unite forecasts a 10% to 20% decline in its rental income that matches estimates given out in July. The Bristol-based company also valued its cost savings on Thursday at £12 million to £15 million this year.

Unite Group refrains from reinstating its dividend

Unite also highlighted a decline from 98% to 88% in the rate of bed spaces let in the academic year that marginally missed its target of 90%. The company cited the Coronavirus-driven instability on Thursday as it refrained from reinstating dividends.

The FTSE 250 listed firm, however, expressed confidence that student demand will remain positive in the academic year 2021-2022 and beyond. In separate news from the United Kingdom, real estate investment trust, NewRiver plc reported improved rent collection on Thursday after the government decided in favour of easing the COVID-19 restrictions.

Unite Group plc performed fairly upbeat in the stock market last year with an annual gain of more than 50%. At the time of writing, the British student accommodation developer has a market cap of £3.44 billion and a price to earnings ratio of 32.2.

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