Empiric Student Property plc (LSE: ESP) is an internally managed UK REIT investing in modern, premium student accommodation located in prime city centre locations in top university towns and cities in the UK. The Company listed on the Main Market (Premium Listing) of the London Stock Exchange in June 2014.
Financial highlights (as at 31 December 2015)
- As at 31 December 2015, our portfolio was valued at £361.7m (30 June 2015: £251.3m).
- Our portfolio of operating assets had gross annualised income of £25.1m as at 31 December 2015 (31 December 2014: £8.4m).
- We have paid or declared two dividends in respect of the six month period ended 31 December 2015, equating in aggregate to 3p per share (see Post balance sheet highlights below).
- Our total return for the period from IPO to 31 December 2015 was 19%(1).
- We raised an additional £161.4m (gross) of equity and drew down an additional £19.1m of the RBS debt facility.
- We acquired a further 2,165 beds (596 operating and 1,569 under development), bringing our total to 5,686 beds across 58 assets in 26 cities and towns as at 31 December 2015.
- The average net initial yield of our operating portfolio at acquisition is 6.4% against our period end valuation yield of 5.8%. Our portfolio is fully let(2) for the 2015/16 academic year.
Post Balance Sheet Highlights
- We have started building our operational capacity to bring marketing, billing, booking and building and facilities management together under one brand and platform: Hello Student®.
- Dividend of 1.5p declared for the period 1 October to 31 December 2015.
- New secured debt facility of £40m agreed with Canada Life, and targeting an LTV of 35% in the near term.
- Launch of new 165m share issuance programme in order to achieve our stated objective to acquire 10,000 beds. Initial tranche to raise target gross proceeds of £90m to fund the near term acquisition pipeline.
1 Total return is calculated as change in share price plus dividends in the Company, as a percentage of the IPO issue price.
2 The Company budgets and models on the basis of 97.5% occupancy. Occupancy or income of the operational portfolio to this level and in excess is considered fully let.
Empiric’s investment objective is to provide shareholders with regular, sustainable and growing (at least in line with the RPI inflation index) dividends, together with the potential for capital appreciation over the medium to long-term.
Empiric intends to meet its investment objective through acquiring, owning, leasing, developing and managing high quality student residential accommodation. We let to students in higher education on direct tenancy agreements. We invest in and develop high-quality, modern student accommodation, generally located in prime, city-centre locations in top university cities and towns, spreading risk through a diverse geographic exposure.