GCP Student Living expands its Scape sites, shareholders’ returns increase

Real estate investment trust company GCP Student Living plc (LON: DIGS) increases its portfolio value and improves its shareholders’ returns.

The Company’s property portfolio value increased during the full year, from £784.4 million at the end of FY18, to £921.6 million at the end of FY19. While its rate of student rental growth narrowed on-year, it still increased 3.5% during the full year.

GCP Student Living shareholders enjoyed similar progress, with EPRA NAV per share increasing from 149.12p, to 165.52p at the end of FY19. During the same period, the Group paid a dividend of 6.15p per share, up from 5.95p for the year before.

The Company added that it completed the refurbishment of its Scape Bloomsbury site for the academic year 2018/19, its 555 bed Scape Brighton site commenced construction and is expected to be completed by the beginning of the academic year 2019/20. The Group now has a high value portfolio of 11 high value assets, largely based in London, totalling 4,116 beds.

GCP Student Living comments

Robert Peto, Chairman, responded to the results,

“I am pleased to report on a sixth consecutive year of robust results for the Company.”

“The Company’s focus on student residential accommodation assets in locations which benefit from supply and demand imbalances, including its core London market, has delivered total shareholders returns of 14.8% for the year. On a relative basis, the Company has substantially outperformed the FTSE EPRA NAREIT index of UK REITs, which declined by 6.0% over the same period. The Company’s annualised total shareholder return since IPO1 is 12.9%, exceeding the 8-10% target set at launch and more than double the return of the FTSE All-Share index over that period.”

“The Company’s performance has been underpinned by strong operational drivers including full occupancy across the portfolio and year-onyear rental growth in excess of both inflation and the national average for student accommodation. This has enabled the Company to increase its annual dividend to 6.15 pence per share from 5.95 pence per share in the prior year. In addition, the Company’s investments continue to benefit from yield compression arising from competitive market demand for student accommodation assets. This has been reflected in the upward valuation of the Company’s portfolio and a concomitant rise in its NAV during the year.”

Investor notes

The Company’s shares dipped slightly, by 0.068p or 0.11p to 162.29p a share 04/09/19 14:31 BST. The Group’s p/e ratio is 40.50, their dividend yield is 3.79%.

Elsewhere in property development and estate agency news, there have been updates from; Barratt Development Plc (LON: BDEV), Belvoir Group PLC (LON: BLV), Tritax Big Box REIT PLC (LON: BBOX), Intu Properties plc (LON: INTU), LSL Property Services plc (LON: LSL) and Countryside Properties PLC (LON: CSP).

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Senior Journalist at the UK Investor Magazine. Also a contributing writer at the Investment Observer, UK Property Journal and UK Startup Magazine. Postgraduate of King's College London with a specialisation in Business Ethics. Interested in Development Economics and David Hume.