Share Name Share Symbol Market Type Share ISIN Share Description
Watkin Jones Plc LSE:WJG London Ordinary Share GB00BD6RF223 ORD 1P
  Price Change % Change Share Price Bid Price Offer Price High Price Low Price Open Price Shares Traded Last Trade
  1.50 0.64% 236.00 235.00 236.50 236.00 233.00 233.50 104,334 11:30:28
Industry Sector Turnover (m) Profit (m) EPS - Basic PE Ratio Market Cap (m)
Real Estate 354.1 25.3 8.3 28.6 604

Watkin Jones plc H1-2021 Trading Update

14/04/2021 7:00am

UK Regulatory (RNS & others)

Watkin Jones (LSE:WJG)
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RNS Number : 3676V

Watkin Jones plc

14 April 2021

For immediate release  14 April 2021 

Watkin Jones plc

('Watkin Jones' or the 'Group')

H1-2021 Trading Update

'Maintaining momentum as the economy reopens'

Watkin Jones plc (AIM:WJG), the UK's leading developer and manager of residential for rent, with a focus on the build to rent ('BtR') and purpose built student accommodation ('PBSA') sectors, provides the following trading update for the half year ended 31 March 2021 (the 'period' or 'H1-2021').

Richard Simpson, Chief Executive Officer of Watkin Jones, said:

"The rapid roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine in the UK and decline in infections is beginning to restore some normality and confidence to the UK economy and our market sectors. We've maintained momentum from the second half of last year, making further good progress in securing new forward sales, adding to our development pipeline and with our construction activities all on track.

"We anticipate our profit for the first half of the year to be in line with our expectations and slightly below last year, which was before the onset of the disruption caused by the pandemic.

"The fundamentals supporting the markets for high quality build to rent and student accommodation assets remain strong and with the continued progress we have made in the first half of the year, gives us confidence in our future trading."

H1-2021 performance

-- Adjusted EBIT anticipated to be in line with our expectations and slightly below H1-2020, which was before the COVID-19 disruption to our operations and the markets in which we operate.

-- Good half year liquidity position, with gross cash of c.GBP88.0 million (H1-2020: GBP72.4 million) and net cash of c.GBP31.0 million (H1-2020: GBP37.5 million), after deducting site specific loans.

   --    Construction activities on track across all BtR and PBSA developments. 

-- Revenues from Fresh property management business resilient, despite short term disruption across the higher education sector; income supported by new mandates won since the start of the year for 2,619 PBSA beds.

   --    Sales levels within the Homes business robust. 

-- Cladding remedial works relating to fire safety progressing in line with previous guidance; increased clarity in future direction of government policy supportive of our position.

   --    Affordable housing pilot progressing to plan. 

Continued momentum in securing forward sales

-- Contracts exchanged subsequent to the period end for the sale of our 462 bed PBSA development in Leicester to Deutsche Finance International ('DFI') for a value of GBP35.6 million, payable on completion of the asset. The development is scheduled for completion in FY-2021 ahead of the 2021/22 academic year and is to be managed by Fresh. This transaction represents DFI's second acquisition of PBSA in the UK and their first with Watkin Jones.

-- Legals progressing on the forward sale of our BtR developments in Leicester, Hove and Lewisham (London) and terms agreed for the forward sale of a 295 bed PBSA scheme in Edinburgh, subject to planning.

   --    Total forward sales of four PBSA developments (1,371 beds) since the start of the year. 

-- Legals progressing for the forward sale of 159 homes on our affordable housing pilot site in Crewe.

Development pipeline further enhanced since our last update in January

   --    New PBSA site for 350 beds secured in Swansea. 

-- Secured development pipeline currently comprises approximately 4,500 BtR apartments and 8,250 PBSA beds (H1-2020: 2,660 BtR apartments and 7,200 PBSA beds), with a future revenue value of c.GBP1.4 billion, excluding the revenue delivered in the period (H1-2020: GBP1.0 billion).

-- Legal negotiations progressing on attractive new sites to be acquired across all residential for rent segments.

Board succession

As part of our orderly Board succession planning, several changes are being planned for the future. Having led the Board successfully since the Group's IPO in 2016, Grenville Turner, Non-Executive Chairman, is intending to retire at the end of this year and a search for his successor has commenced. In addition, Phil Byrom, Chief Financial Officer, is planning to retire next year, after nearly 20 years' service in both the private family company and through its transition to being publicly listed. The recruitment process for his successor has also been started.

Notice of Interim Results

The Group's Interim Results will be announced on Tuesday, 18 May 2021. There will be a conference call for analysts at 09.30am on the day of the announcement, hosted by CEO Richard Simpson and CFO Phil Byrom. Please contact Buchanan at if you would like to receive the dial in details.

- Ends -

For further information:

Watkin Jones plc 
Richard Simpson, Chief Executive Officer                          Tel: +44 (0) 1248 362 516 
Phil Byrom, Chief Financial Officer                         
  Peel Hunt LLP (Nominated Adviser & Joint Corporate Broker)      Tel: +44 (0) 20 7418 8900 
Mike Bell / Ed Allsopp                                            
  Jefferies Hoare Govett (Joint Corporate Broker)                 Tel: +44 (0) 20 7029 8000 
Max Jones / Will Soutar                                          

Media enquiries:

Henry Harrison-Topham / Richard Oldworth 
 Jamie Hooper / Steph Watson                Tel: +44 (0) 20 7466 5000              

Notes to Editors

Watkin Jones is the UK's leading developer and manager of residential for rent, with a focus on the build to rent and student accommodation sectors. The Group has strong relationships with institutional investors, and a reputation for successful, on-time-delivery of high quality developments. Since 1999, Watkin Jones has delivered 43,000 student beds across 130 sites, making it a key player and leader in the UK purpose-built student accommodation market. In addition, Fresh, the Group's specialist accommodation management business, manages over 20,000 student beds and build to rent apartments on behalf of its institutional clients. Watkin Jones has also been responsible for over 80 residential developments, ranging from starter homes to executive housing and apartments. The Group is increasingly expanding its operations into the build to rent sector.

The Group's competitive advantage lies in its experienced management team and business model, which enables it to offer an end-to-end solution for investors, delivered entirely in-house with minimal reliance on third parties, across the entire life cycle of an asset.

Watkin Jones was admitted to trading on AIM in March 2016 with the ticker WJG.L. For additional information please visit

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 14, 2021 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT)

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