Unite sees profits soar from £4.7m to £126m
STUDENT accommodation firm Unite has enjoyed a year of extraordinary success thanks in part to massive demand from overseas.
The firm, which launched in Bristol over ten years ago, saw its profits soar from £4.7 million last year to a staggering £126 million.
The huge leap is due in part to cost costing but has also been fuelled by demand for university places in the UK from overseas students.
Unite, which still has its headquarters in Bristol, originally specialised in transforming unwanted office block into student accommodation.
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It most high-profile scheme in the city this year is the conversion of the ice rink in Frogmore Street into flats. In Bristol the firm currently operates 12 buildings and accommodates just under 3,000 students.
Fears that the Coalition Governments decision to introduce student fees would see numbers fall at university have not materialised.
And as a result the firm has grown from strength to strength in recent years.
Mark Allan, the chief executive of Unite, said reservations for next years already stood at 62 per cent of its rooms up from 59 per cent this time last year. The demand has largely been fuelled by overseas students flocking to the UK from Asia and the Far East.
Mr Allan added: "2012 was a year of continued momentum for Unite, with the benefits of the work we have done to enhance our business model and strengthen our footprint in the sector reflected in our financial results.
"Our deep understanding of the universities we work with, our student customers and knowledge of the market context ensure we can continue to build a sustainable, market- leading position in the months and years to come."
He added: "The extension of our significant joint venture with GIC during the year also illustrates the continued appeal of the student accommodation sector for UK and international investors.
"In light of the progress made during the year and our strong performance across all our key financial metrics, we are pleased to announce a substantial increase in the total dividend for the year, demonstrating our confidence in the strength of our business and the prospects it offers for attractive future returns."