Em­piric expands to at­tract older stu­dents as rev­enue leaps 27pc

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - Rhi­an­non Bury By

EM­PIRIC Stu­dent Prop­erty is plan­ning to in­crease its ac­com­mo­da­tion pro­vi­sion for sec­ond and third year stu­dents as rental mar­kets across the coun­try re­main squeezed.

Paul Had­away, the chief ex­ec­u­tive, said the firm was keen to buy up blocks that could house stu­dents out­side of the tra­di­tional first-year co­hort which it has typ­i­cally tar­geted.

“We def­i­nitely see our fu­ture as a greater of­fer to post­grad­u­ate, sec­ond and third years,” he said. In July, the busi­ness raised £110m of eq­uity to buy four more build­ings.

Mr Had­away said that Em­piric, which has 90 build­ings in 30 towns and cities, was seek­ing to en­cour­age ex­ist­ing ten­ants to move within its port­fo­lio, even if they moved city while study­ing. Ear­lier this month, the com­pany an­nounced that its prop­erty op­er­at­ing arm, which is called Hello Stu­dent, had signed a deal with renowned in­te­rior de­sign brand Con­ran Shop to fit out lux­ury rooms in cer­tain lo­ca­tions. It has so far fit­ted out 18 rooms in Cardiff and Glas­gow with the high-end de­signs.

Em­piric’s re­sults for the six months to June 30, which were re­leased yes­ter­day, showed that the value of its port­fo­lio had jumped by 13.4pc to £817.9m as a re­sult of the pur­chases, although net as­set value per share, which prop­erty com­pa­nies use to record value, was al­most flat at around 105.8p. Rev­enues for the firm jumped 27.3pc to £24.5m.

The oth­er­wise up­beat re­sults were dented by some un­fore­seen costs which ac­counted for a 43pc rise in the ad­min charge, from £5.3m to £7.6m.

Some of this was as­so­ci­ated with the de­vel­op­ment costs of Hello Stu­dent. Shares in the com­pany slipped 4.6pc to 108.5p yes­ter­day.

Mr Had­away said he was rel­a­tively un­con­cerned by a po­ten­tial drop-off in stu­dents from the Euro­pean Union in the com­ing years.

“It would be wrong to say we’re not con­cerned at all,” he said. “But we’ve had a record num­ber of 18-year-old school leavers ap­ply and be ac­cepted to uni­ver­si­ties.”

He added that a re­duc­tion in over­all stu­dent num­bers had been driven by fewer ma­ture stu­dents, and that ap­pli­ca­tions from non-EU coun­tries were con­tin­u­ing to hold up.

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