SPH records $38.4m revaluation gain on UK student accommodation portfolio

Singapore Press Holdings expects the UK student accommodation sector and overall investor interest in this area to remain strong. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has recorded a revaluation gain of 6.7 per cent, or £22.8 million (S$38.4 million) on its purpose-built student accommodation portfolio in the UK.

The gain comes within a year of the media and property group's expansion into the student accommodation sector, with an initial £180.5 million investment, it said in a statement on Monday (Sept 9).

On the back of further investments, the portfolio grew to £338.4 million, comprising 5,059 beds across 10 cities in the UK.

As at Aug 31, real estate consultancy Cushman & Wakefield has valued the portfolio at £361.2 million, giving rise to a revaluation gain of £22.8 million.

SPH - which owns The Straits Times - expects the UK student accommodation sector and overall investor interest in this area to remain strong, with up to £3.5 billion of investments likely to come in this year.

There were more than 560,000 applications for full-time undergraduate courses at UK universities for the academic year 2019/20 (AY19/20). Nearly a fifth of these applicants were from outside the UK, a 5.7 per cent increase from 2018 while applications from China rose 33.3 per cent, according to a Knight Frank report.

SPH said that it has been boosting its operational expertise in the sector. Marketing capabilities have been expanded with a centralised marketing and sales office in China to capitalise on the demand by Chinese students for higher education in the UK.

SPH has also taken over operations at the property in Lincoln in the English East Midlands for the upcoming AY19/20, with plans to progressively operate more assets over the course of the year.

SPH shares closed at $1.99 on Monday, up one cent or 0.51 per cent. The announcement was made after the market closed.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.