Trading Update and Director and Management Changes
5th July 2018
The Board of Empiric Student Property plc (ticker: ESP) (the "Board"), the owner and operator of student accommodation across the UK, is pleased to provide the following update on trading ahead of the Company's half year results for the six months ended 30 June 2018, which will be announced on Tuesday, 21 August 2018.
The Group continues to make good progress on delivering financial and operational improvements across the business and remains on track to meet its previously stated targets of:
· Full occupancy for the 2018/19 academic year*.
· Increasing the operating margin from 57% in FY 2017 to 70% over the next two years.
· Reducing administration expenses to £10m pa in 2018, a reduction of 26% on FY 2017.
· Improving dividend cover to approximately two thirds covered by adjusted earnings in FY 2018 and fully covered in FY 2019.
Bookings for the 2018/19 academic year are continuing to progress well and are currently at 76% compared to 63% at the same time last year, and up from 57% as announced by the Company on 25 April 2018.
The programme of bringing all facilities management in-house in stages by 1 April 2019 is on track, with 33% of the Group's properties expected to be transferred in-house by 1 September 2018. The management of all utilities has already been successfully transferred in-house from 1 July 2018. The first significant cost savings from this transfer in-house of facilties management are expected in Q4 2018 as third party costs begin to fall away.
The Board announces that Lynne Fennah has been appointed to the dual roles of Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer with effect from 1st July 2018. Since December 2017, Lynne has led and assumed responsibility for all day to day operating activities of the Company and, in recognition of the continued positive financial and operational progress of the Company, the Board has formalised Lynne's responsibilities.
Tim Attlee remains Acting Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of the Company.
To help support and continue the Group's financial and operational progress as well as the significant work to implement successfully the programme of bringing in-house all facilities management and support services, a new Group Financial Controller and Head of Facilities Management were appointed in December 2017 and on 2 July 2018 respectively.
The Board is making good progress in its search for a new non-executive Chairman and expects to make a further announcement in the near term.
Questions? Get in touch using the contact details below.
Questions? Get in touch.
Empiric Head Office
Empiric Student Property plc
Swan House, 17-19 Stratford Place, London W1C 1BQ
+44 (0)20 3828 8700
+44 (0)20 7379 5151
Philip Noblet / Gary Gould
Jefferies International Limited
020 7029 8000
Charlie Foster / Marcus Jackson
RBC Europe Limited (trading as RBC Capital Markets)
020 7653 4000