Student accommodation giant Unite PLC (LON:UTG) increased its half year dividend by 8% as it forecast good rental growth for at least the next two years.
Unite’s portfolio is 51,000 beds currently but will increase to 75,000 when it completes the acquisition of Liberty Living for £1.4bn, a deal that is expected to complete early in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Richard Smith, chief executive, said the portfolio in the coming academic year was already 92% booked.
“As such, we remain confident in a rental growth outlook of 3.0-3.5% for 2019/20 and 2020/21.
“The student intake in 2019/20 is expected to be in line with the record levels seen over the past few years and we expect to see growth in the University cities where we operate,” said Smith.
Net asset value at the end of June was 4% higher at 820p, though smaller valuation gains meant profits fell to £125.5mln from £142.5mln.