Watkin Jones plc (LON:WJG), a leading UK developer and constructor of multi occupancy property assets, with a focus on the student accommodation sector, announced today its pre-close trading statement for the half year ended 31 March 2017.
The Board is pleased to report a successful first six months of the financial year with trading in line with its expectations.
In the year to date, five student accommodation developments in Bournemouth, Ipswich, Belfast, Cardiff and London, representing 2,347 beds in total, were sold with a gross development value of £192 million. All the developments planned to be completed by September 2017 and five of those planned to be completed by September 2018 have been forward sold. Watkin Jones has a further six developments totalling over 1,705 beds under offer and in legal negotiations which, when concluded, would see all the developments planned to be completed by September 2018 forward sold. In total, 16 developments, representing 5,679 beds, for delivery before September 2019 have now been sold.
The Group has 11,098 targeted beds in its secured pipeline, with 9,390 of these having planning consent. Planning applications have been submitted in respect of the remainder.
Fresh Student Living now have 12,117 beds under management across 43 schemes and are contracted to increase this to 16,526 beds under management across 55 schemes from the start of the 2017/18 academic year.
The Group is making good progress with its drive into the Private Rented Sector (‘PRS’) having completed its first PRS scheme in Leeds of 322 units and has secured a 132 unit development site in Sutton. The Group is also working on a number of planning applications and other site acquisition opportunities.
The Group’s progress in delivering the current development pipeline is encouraging and the Board remains confident in the outlook for the full year.
Mark Watkin Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Watkin Jones plc, said: “I am pleased with the Group’s performance over the past six months, which continues to reinforce the attractiveness of our end-to-end business model to institutional investors. The market for purpose built student accommodation in the UK continues to grow and demand for our product remains strong.
“Our entry into PRS has been successful with the completion of our first scheme in Leeds and going forward we plan to grow our PRS business sustainably. Our development pipeline provides excellent visibility of earnings and cashflow and we are optimistic for the continued growth of Watkin Jones.”