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Share Name Share Symbol Market Type Share ISIN Share Description
Workspace Group Plc LSE:WKP London Ordinary Share GB00B67G5X01 ORD GBP1
  Price Change % Change Share Price Bid Price Offer Price High Price Low Price Open Price Shares Traded Last Trade
  -3.00 -0.35% 845.50 847.50 848.50 860.50 831.50 860.50 148,229 16:35:17
Industry Sector Turnover (m) Profit (m) EPS - Basic PE Ratio Market Cap (m)
Real Estate Investment Trusts 142.3 -235.7 -130.3 - 1,531

Workspace Group PLC FIRST QUARTER BUSINESS UPDATE

22/07/2021 7:00am

UK Regulatory (RNS & others)


Workspace (LSE:WKP)
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From Jun 2021 to Jul 2021

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RNS Number : 0499G

Workspace Group PLC

22 July 2021

22 July 2021

Workspace GROUP PLC

FIRST Quarter business update FOR THE

PERIOD ENDING 30 JUNE 2021

Workspace Group, London's leading provider of flexible offices, provides a business update for the first quarter ending 30 June 2021 ahead of its AGM being held later today.

HIGHLIGHTS

-- Customer demand now running at pre-Covid levels, with an average of 947 enquiries per month in the quarter (Q1 2020/21: 506) and 125 lettings per month (Q1 2020/21: 43)

-- Strong cash collection, with 95% of rent due for the first quarter and 90% of rent due for the second quarter collected to date, ahead of the level of rents collected at the same point in the previous quarter

   --    Like-for-like occupancy recovering, up 1.1% in the quarter to 82.7% 

-- Pricing beginning to stabilise as customer demand improves, average rent per sq. ft. down by 2.4% to GBP35.69 in the quarter, around half the decline seen in the previous quarter

-- Three projects will complete in the second quarter providing 117,000 sq. ft. of new and upgraded space

   --    Pro forma LTV remained unchanged at 24% at 30 June 2021 based on the March 2021 valuation 

Graham Clemett, Chief Executive Officer, Workspace Group PLC, commented:

"Our first quarter performance reinforces our confidence that we have come through the worst of the pandemic and are now on a clear positive trajectory. Whilst we expect a degree of uncertainty to remain in the near-term, we are seeing strong signs that London's businesses are returning to work and are optimistic about the future.

"The high level of enquiries and lettings activity that we are seeing shows that our distinctive, flexible offering is resonating in the market. With the Government's 'work from home' guidance now lifted, we expect to see continued strong demand through the second quarter.

"With occupancy increasing and pricing beginning to stabilise, this is a solid start to what we expect to be a positive year for Workspace. Looking ahead, we are well positioned to capture the significant growth opportunities in front of us as the market demand for office space continues to shift towards a combination of flexibility, quality and sustainability."

Customer Activity

We have seen good levels of demand from new customers, with a monthly average of 947 enquiries in the quarter and a strong conversion to viewings and subsequent lettings.

 
                Monthly Average         Monthly Activity 
                                   ------------------------- 
                 Q1         Q1      30 Jun   31 May   30 Apr 
               2021/22    2020/21    2021     2021     2021 
             ---------             -------  -------  ------- 
 
 Enquiries      947        506       927      974      939 
 Viewings       615        142       593      640      612 
 Lettings       125         43       121      154      100 
             ---------  ---------  -------  -------  ------- 
 

We are also seeing a steady return of existing customers to their offices, with utilisation of our centres improving to 35% of pre-Covid levels by the end of June.

Like-for-like occupancy has started to recover during the first quarter from the combined impact of new lettings activity and lower, pre-Covid levels of customer churn. The net result has been a 1.1% increase in like-for-like occupancy in the quarter to 82.7%.

Pricing is also now beginning to stabilise, although as a result of the four-week extension in the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions we continued to offer short-term lease incentives on a case by case basis. Average rent per sq. ft. fell 2.4% in the quarter to GBP35.69, around half the decline seen in the previous quarter.

 
                                      Quarter Ended 
                           ---------------------------------- 
                            30 Jun 21   31 Mar 21   31 Dec 20 
                           ----------  ----------  ---------- 
 Like-for-like occupancy      82.7%       81.6%       82.1% 
 Like-for-like occupancy 
  change*                     1.1%       (0.5)%      (3.4)% 
 
 Like-for-like rent per     GBP35.69    GBP36.57    GBP38.46 
  sq. ft. 
 Like-for-like rent per 
  sq. ft. change             (2.4)%      (4.9)%      (5.3)% 
 
 Like-for-like rent roll    GBP84.0m    GBP85.1m    GBP89.8m 
 Like-for-like rent roll 
  change                     (1.2)%      (5.2)%      (9.1)% 
 

*Absolute change

The combined impact of the increase in like-for-like occupancy and fall in rent per sq. ft. in the quarter resulted in a 1.2% fall in like-for-like rent roll, to GBP84.0m. Total rent roll declined by 6.3% in the first quarter to GBP97.5m. This included a reduction in rent of GBP6.1m at Fitzroy Street after the sole occupier, Arup, moved out ahead of our planned refurbishment of this building.

Rent Collection

Cash collection remains robust, despite the continued Government restrictions on rent collection measures. The majority of our customers pay monthly and we have to date collected 95% of rent due for the first quarter and 90% of rents due for the second quarter, ahead of the level of rents collected at the same point in the previous quarter.

Portfolio Activity

We are making good progress with our refurbishment and redevelopment pipeline, with t hree projects due to complete in the second quarter:

-- The extensive refurbishment of Pall Mall Deposit, Ladbroke Grove, will deliver 59,000 sq. ft. of new and upgraded space

-- The second phase of the mixed-use redevelopment at The Light Bulb, Wandsworth, will provide an additional 17,000 sq. ft. of net lettable space

-- We are launching Mirror Works, a new 41,000 sq. ft. business centre in Stratford, from the mixed-use redevelopment of our former Marshgate property just south of the Olympic Park

Financing

In April 2021, we prepaid GBP148.5m of fixed rate private placement notes due in June 2023. The refinancing reduces the average cost of drawn debt to 3.1% and extends the average debt facility maturity to over 5 years. Following the refinancing, 71% of our facilities are at fixed rates, representing 100% of our borrowings on a drawn basis.

Net debt increased by GBP8m in the quarter to GBP573m, with cash balances and undrawn facilities of GBP277m as at 30 June 2020. We have significant headroom on all facility covenants and the pro forma loan to value ratio at 30 June 2021, based on the 31 March 2021 property valuation, remained unchanged at 24%.

- ENDS -

For further information, please contact:

Workspace Group PLC

   Clare Marland, Head of Corporate Communications                                    07795 622392 

Finsbury

James Bradley 07500 616161

Chris Ryall 07342 713748

Notes to Editors

About Workspace Group PLC:

Established in 1987, and listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1993, Workspace owns and manages some 4 million sq. ft. of business space in London. We are home to London's brightest businesses, including fast growing and established brands across a wide range of sectors. Workspace is geared towards helping businesses perform at their very best. We provide inspiring, flexible work spaces in dynamic London locations.

Workspace (WKP) is a FTSE 250 listed Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) and a member of the European Public Real Estate Association (EPRA).

Workspace(R) is a registered trademark of Workspace Group Plc, London, UK.

LEI: 2138003GUZRFIN3UT430

For more information on Workspace, please visit www.workspace.co.uk

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END

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July 22, 2021 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT)

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