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Unite lifts dividend 14% as rental income boosts adjusted profit

By BFN News | 07:54 AM | Wednesday 26 February, 2020

Student accommodation developer Unite swung to a full-year loss owing to costs associated with an acquisition, though its underlying performance improved on higher rental income. The company declared a full-year dividend of 33.2p per share, up 14% on year. Pre-tax losses for the year through December amounted to £101.2m, swinging from a profit of £245.8m on-year, and included costs and goodwill impairments related to the acquisition of Liberty Living. Underlying pre-tax profit rose 25% to £305.3m, backed by 3.4% like-for-like rental growth. Chief executive Richard Smith said the outlook for the business remained strong. He said reservations for the 2020/21 academic year were in line with record levels, supporting like-for-like rental growth guidance of 3.0-to-3.5%. 'Together with our development and University partnership pipeline of over 5,000 beds, this provides high visibility over sustainable earnings growth and we maintain our positive outlook,' Smith said. 'While Brexit negotiations and the ongoing review of higher education funding provide some uncertainty, our strategy of aligning to the best universities and providing good-quality, value-for-money accommodation for growing segments of the market underpins our long-term confidence in the business.' Story provided by

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