The Unite Group plc
TypePublic
LSEUTG
IndustryStudent accommodation#Off campus residences
Founded1991
FounderNicholas Porter
HeadquartersBristol, England, UK
Key people
Phil White CBE, (Chairman)
Richard Smith (CEO)
Joe Lister (CFO)
ProductsStudent accommodation (halls of residence)
ServicesProperty investment and development
RevenueIncrease £215.6 million (2020)[1]
Increase £(27.5) million (2020)[1]
Decrease £(122.2) million (2020)[1]
Number of employees
1,900 (2021)[2]
Websitewww.unite-group.co.uk

The Unite Group (trading as Unite Students) provides purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) across the United Kingdom.

The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange as a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.[3]

History

A Unite Students facility near Tottenham Hale station
A Unite Students facility near Tottenham Hale station

The Unite Group was founded by Nicholas Porter in Bristol, England, in 1991.[4] Aged 21 and following research with the University of the West of England, he recognised a growing demand for student accommodation.[5] After a period of expansion within Bristol, in 1998 Unite opened its first properties in London. It listed on the Alternative Investment Market the following year.[6]

In 2000 the business moved its share register to the London Stock Exchange, and opened properties in Manchester, Liverpool and Portsmouth.[7] During the following decade, Unite created investment vehicles to secure growth in London, across England and into Scotland. Of these vehicles, The Unite UK Student Accommodation Fund (USAF[8]) is Europe's largest fund focusing solely on direct-let student accommodation.[9] In 2006, Porter announced he was stepping down as chief executive. He was succeeded at the end of the year by chief financial officer Mark Allan.[10]

Former National Express chief executive Phil White became non-executive chairman in May 2009, succeeding Geoffrey Maddrell, after ten years in the role.[11] By 2011 the business had grown to 40,000 beds. It remains the UK's largest provider of student accommodation by capacity,[12] but second to IQ Student Accommodation by value of its portfolio of property.[13]

In 2012 it founded charitable trust The Unite Foundation, which provides free accommodation and a cost-of-living allowance to students from "challenging circumstances".[14] In April 2014 Unite renamed itself "Unite Students". Simultaneously, it launched its "Home for Success" corporate philosophy; which it describes as its "business purpose". The Home for Success announcement included a £40m reinvestment of profits into the business and 16 "signature commitments", all of which relate to an improved student experience.[15]

Unite Group converted to a real estate investment trust with effect from 1 January 2017.[16]

In December 2019, Unite Students completed its acquisition of competing student housing provider Liberty Living.[17] The deal, worth £1.4 billion, was approved by the Competition and Markets Authority the previous month.[18]

Operations

The company provides residential accommodation to around 50,000 students in circa 140 buildings across the UK,[19] and is the largest and oldest PBSA provider in the country.[20]

Notable properties

References

  1. ^ a b c "Annual Results 2020" (PDF). Unite Students. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  2. ^ "Home for success". Unite Students. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  3. ^ "London Stock Exchange - Trade recap". London Stock Exchange.
  4. ^ "Bristol Post Business Awards: Unite Students take top award". South West Business. 6 July 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  5. ^ "Nicholas Porter - The Sunday Times". thesundaytimes.co.uk. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  6. ^ "DTZ loses Bristol director to student housing specialist". Radius Data Exchange. 9 June 1999. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  7. ^ "Our story so far". Unite Students. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  8. ^ "UNITE UK Student Accommodation Fund". www.aref.org.uk. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  9. ^ "Bedell". bedellgroup.com. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Student digs chief steps down with honours". Property Week. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  11. ^ "Unite Group taps Phil White as new chairman". propertyeu.info. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Unite Students set for 399-bed Aberdeen development". Property Week. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  13. ^ Curry, Rhiannon (18 February 2018). "RBS director to chair UK's largest student digs company". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 September 2018 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  14. ^ "About Us". unitefoundation.co.uk. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  15. ^ "Home for Success". unite-group.co.uk. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  16. ^ "Notice of General Meeting for REIT Conversion and Trading Update". unite-group.co.uk. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  17. ^ Beech, Adam (29 November 2019). "Unite Group Completes Liberty Living Acquisition". Insider Media. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  18. ^ Clark, Jessica (6 November 2019). "Competition and Markets Authority approves £1.4bn Unite Students acquisition of Liberty Living". City A.M. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  19. ^ "Unite lights touchpaper in the search for fire security innovation". BFM Magazine. 28 April 2017.
  20. ^ "Unite snaps up Cordea Savills' £137m student housing portfolio". Financial Times. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  21. ^ "Grand Central". Emporis. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
  22. ^ "Worlds Tallest Student Block Completes In Leeds". Skyscraper News. 26 June 2009. Retrieved 17 March 2012.