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Watkin Jones raises revenue and profit expectations

Watkin Jones has said it is expecting revenue and profit to be higher than anticipated for the financial year.

In an update to the market released this morning, the firm added that “strong trading” for the period had been reflected in its cash performance.

The developer-contractor, which specialises in the student accommodation sector, said its results for the year to 30 September 2018 would be boosted by forward sales on four student developments comprising 1,815 beds.

Watkin Jones said it had already forward-sold a number of schemes for its 2019 and 2020 financial years, and had secured four sites for its 2021 pipeline.

The firm also said it had made progress in the build-to-rent and residential sectors, and was considering establishing a new investment vehicle to increase shareholder returns in build-to-rent.Watkin Jones agreed deals for build-to-rent schemes in Wembley and Reading in the financial period.

It also secured approval this month for what is described as Belfast’s first build-to-rent PRS scheme (pictured), as part of a joint venture with developer Lacuna.

In May, Watkin Jones announced it had poached Richard Simpson from rival Unite to replace Mark Watkin Jones as chief executive.

Mr Watkin Jones’ departure, which was announced in January, marked the first time the business had not been directly led by a member of its founding family.

Mr Simpson is due to take the reins at Watkin Jones in January.

The company is due to publish its full-year accounts on 15 January 2019.

Mr Watkin Jones said: “We have achieved excellent progress on forward-sold student accommodation developments, successfully completing all 10 schemes scheduled for delivery in the period and continue to see strong demand from institutional investors.

“We are also encouraged by the progress that has been made in the build-to-rent sector, with the agreements for significant developments in Reading and Wembley demonstrating our position as a developer of choice for leading institutions.”

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