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Empiric Student eyes 2.8% rental uplift for 2017/18 academic year

Empiric Student Property Plc expects to log an approximately 2.8% uplift in annual rents for the 2017/18 academic year.

In its trading update ahead of the end of its financial half-year on June 30, the company said the Dec. 31 target for gross annualized rent roll, including commercial, is set to approximately £63.6 million, up from £52.1 million recorded in the same period in 2016.

The board plans to pay out a dividend of 6.1 pence per ordinary share for the year ending Dec. 31, similar to dividends declared last year.

The current property portfolio includes 8,762 contracted beds across 90 assets in 30 top U.K. university cities and towns, valued at £786.7 million as at April 30 by CBRE Ltd. The board is optimistic to launch 81 assets, comprising 7,579 beds in September, with a Leicester property completed since March and six more under development slated for completion by September. Furthermore, the Provincial House, Sheffield property is scheduled for a January 2018 completion.

Meanwhile, operating and development properties, representing over 2,900 beds, make up the company's near-term pipeline along with a London-based portfolio of operating assets.

In addition, the property group is mulling an equity fundraising to finance potential acquisitions and is in advanced discussions for a new revolving credit facility. The terms for its existing £32.8 million and £30.6 million debt facilities were extended to October 2020 and December 2018, respectively.