U.K. self-storage operator Safestore Holdings PLC reported a pre-tax profit of £6.9 million during the first six months of its 2014 fiscal year, down 46.1 percent compared to the same period (through April 30) in 2013. Revenue fell slightly year over year from £47.1 million to £46.9 million. The company declared an interim dividend of 2.15 pence, up 16.2 percent from the same period last year.
The company's earnings during the period were hurt by property-revaluation losses and impacted by income-tax charges of £2.1 million, compared to a tax benefit of £61.9 million it received last year.
Revenue from Safestore’s U.K. businesses fell 2 percent during the period to £33.9 million. However, after adjusting for the closure of the company’s Enfield South self-storage location, which was still open during the first half of 2013, and the loss of rental earnings from the sale of its Whitechapel location last year, same-store revenue rose 0.6 percent, officials said.
"Many of our recent operational initiatives are starting to come through with improvements in inquiries, conversion and new lets driving occupancy growth, whilst our new pricing policy is resulting in a positive rental rate trend,” said Frederic Vecchioli, CEO. "As a result, our trading performance has been encouraging and, combined with the improvements to the capital structure and tight cost control, has translated into strong growth in both earnings and dividends in the half year.”
Occupancy at the company’s U.K. facilities was 63.4 percent during the period compared to 72.1 percent at its properties in France. Occupancy for all facilities was 65.3 percent. The company increased occupancy by 49,000 square feet during the second quarter of its fiscal year.
Revenue for Safestore’s French holdings increased 4 percent to £13 million compared to £12.5 million during the first six months of 2013.
"Going forward, we are excited about the opportunity and, although the benefits of the recent improvements made across the business will take some time to be fully reflected in our financial performance, we are confident in delivering the strategy and generating earnings in line with the board's expectations," Vecchioli said.
Safestore operates 134 self-storage facilities, including 97 wholly owned U.K. locations and 25 wholly owned facilities in France. The company also has 12 locations under management in the U.K. It serves approximately 46,000 total customers and employs about 550 people.