TIDMUTG

RNS Number : 9899D

Unite Group PLC (The)

08 March 2022

PRESS RELEASE

8 March 2022

THE UNITE GROUP PLC

('Unite Students', 'Unite', the 'Group', or the 'Company')

UNITE STUDENTS TO DISPOSE OF ELEVEN PROPERTIES FOR GBP306 MILLION

Unite Students, the UK's leading owner, manager and developer of student accommodation, today announces the disposal of a portfolio of 11 properties, comprising 4,488 beds for GBP306 million (Unite share: GBP236 million) to an affiliate of Lone Star Funds.

The disposal portfolio includes assets in Sheffield ( 1,700 beds), Reading (703 beds), Leicester (665 beds), Bedford (517 beds), Liverpool (390 beds), Birmingham (337 beds), Bristol (99 beds) and Leeds (77 beds), and has nomination agreements covering 46% of beds on short-term contracts. The disposal is part of the Group's proactive portfolio management strategy, resulting in increased alignment to high and mid-ranked universities that deliver the greatest quality and value to students. It also sees the Group exit certain smaller, less operationally efficient assets in cities such as Bristol and Leeds.

The disposals are priced in line with prevailing book value, which reflects an NOI yield of 5.7%. The properties were treated as held for sale in the balance sheet as at 31 December 2021 and the disposal is incorporated into the Company's guidance for EPRA EPS of 41-43p for the 2022 financial year, which remains unchanged.

Completion will occur on 15 March on four of the properties in the portfolio for GBP51 million (Unite share: GBP11 million). The completion of the remaining properties will occur on 31 August 2022. The disposals reduce see-through LTV to 25% on a pro forma basis, providing the Group with capacity to fund its GBP1 billion development pipeline and explore additional growth opportunities.

Richard Smith, Chief Executive of Unite Students, commented:

" We have now completed the disposal programme set out at the time of our acquisition of Liberty Living in 2019. These disposals have increased the focus of our portfolio in the strongest university cities and ensure our ability to sustain rental growth over a longer time horizon. Our balance sheet is also positioned for growth with the investment capacity to deliver our biggest ever secured development pipeline of GBP1 billion and pursue further opportunities to extend our best-in-class platform"

ENDS

List of disposal properties

 
 Property                 Town/city     Fund             Beds 
 Polhill Park             Bedford       Wholly owned      517 
 Calthorpe Court          Birmingham    Wholly owned      337 
 Studio 58                Bristol       USAF               99 
 The Priory               Leeds         USAF               77 
 Filbert Village          Leicester     USAF              665 
 Paddington Park House    Liverpool     Wholly owned      390 
 Crown House              Reading       USAF               99 
 Kendrick Hall            Reading       Wholly owned      604 
 Devonshire Courtyard     Sheffield     USAF              319 
 The Forge 2              Sheffield     Wholly owned      224 
 The Forge                Sheffield     Wholly owned    1,157 
                         ------------  --------------  ------ 
 Total                                                  4,488 
                                                       ------ 
 

For further information, please contact:

Unite Students

   Joe Lister / Michael Burt                                             Tel: +44 117 302 7005 
   Unite press office                                                         Tel: +44 117 450 6300 

Powerscourt

   Justin Griffiths / Victoria Heslop                                 Tel: +44 20 7250 1446 

About Unite Students

Unite Students is the UK's largest owner, manager and developer of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) serving the country's world-leading higher education sector. We provide homes to 74,000 students across 172 properties in 25 leading university towns and cities. We currently partner with over 60 universities across the UK.

Our people are driven by a common purpose: to provide a 'Home for Success' for the students who live with us. Unite Students' accommodation is safe and secure, high quality, and affordable. Students live predominantly in en-suite study bedrooms with rents covering all bills, insurance, 24-hour security and high-speed Wi-Fi.

We are committed to raising standards in the student accommodation sector for our customers, investors and employees. This is why our new Sustainability Strategy, launched in 2021, includes a commitment to become net zero carbon across our operations and developments by 2030.

Founded in 1991 in Bristol, the Unite Group is an award-winning Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), listed on the London Stock Exchange.

For more information, visit:

Unite's corporate website www.unite-group.co.uk

The student site www.unitestudents.com

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END

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