First Half Highlights
Good first half with increased occupancy and net rent per square foot
Strong revenue performance driving earnings and dividend growth
Adjusted profit before tax up 30% to £23.9 million
Cash flow from operating activities (after finance costs) increased by 44% to £25.7 million
16% increase in interim dividend to 12.1 pence per share
Refinancing of bank loan reducing the Group's average cost of debt and extending the average maturity of facilities
Further investment in new space
o Enfield store on A10 in West London opened in April 2015 and early trading has been encouraging
o Acquisition of landmark site in Kings Cross on York Way
o Acquisition of prime site in Camberwell
Commenting, Nicholas Vetch, Executive Chairman, said:
"In this seasonally stronger trading period like-for-like closing Group occupancy is up 4.1 percentage points to 77.3% compared to 73.2% at 31 March 2015. The growth of 4.1 percentage points is at the top end of the guidance given in May.
As we have stated previously, we make no attempt to judge economic or asset cycles. We believe Big Yellow is well placed to withstand future headwinds, given the security of our capital structure and market leading brand. As the Big Yellow portfolio is approaching 80%, we remain relentlessly focussed on occupancy gain at this stage, but in addition we have intensified our efforts to develop new capacity.
Our principal capital allocation and property strategy has always been to target London and the South East where there is population growth, scarcity of available development land, increasing pressure for housing, and densification. This results in a compelling investment proposition, particularly in London and the South East, which represents 80% of our business by revenue. In the longer term, as awareness grows and these factors intensify, demand from business and domestic customers in our big cities is likely to outstrip the available supply of self storage.
Big Yellow is well positioned to enjoy both the benefits of scarcity and exploit any new opportunities."