Unite Group plc (LON:UTG) noted today the statements by a number of UK universities in response to Coronavirus, confirming that some face-to-face teaching has been suspended in the weeks leading up to Easter. University campuses, libraries and halls of residence remain open.
The safety and wellbeing of the students who live with us and our employees remains our top priority. The Company continues to operate all of its properties and has implemented advice from the World Health Organisation and Public Health England. We are in active dialogue with our university partners and will continue to provide our students with support and access to the most up-to-date information.
There has been no noticeable impact to date on Unite’s sales performance for the 2020/21 academic year. Reservations are currently 77% (77% at the same time last year) and sales to and enquiries from international students remain in line with prior years.
Unite Group plc now plan to operate a reduced programme of summer business in 2020 given the risk of disruption to bookings. The removal of variable costs associated with our summer business will help to mitigate the impact on earnings, which we do not expect to be material. Summer business accounted for 3% of rental income in 2019.
We will provide a further update in relation to Coronavirus as appropriate. The quarterly valuation update for USAF and LSAV is scheduled for 8 April.