U.K. self-storage operator Big Yellow Group PLC released financial results for its 2019 fiscal year, which ended March 31. The company reported same-store revenue of £123.2 million, up 7 percent from 2018. Average occupancy across its portfolio closed at 82.4 percent compared to 80.5 percent a year ago, while same-store occupancy was 82.7 percent, up from 80.5 percent.
Though the company fell short of its total-portfolio average-occupancy goal of 90 percent, Big Yellow officials were encouraged by the positive movement and 2.9 percent increase in net rental rates.
“Although activity levels in the final quarter were impacted by consumer uncertainty in the build-up to the U.K.'s original proposed exit date from the E.U. [European Union], we are pleased to have delivered further improvements in rate and occupancy over the year as a whole,” said Nicholas Vetch, executive chairman. “Looking ahead, we remain focused on our core objective of increasing occupancy to 90 percent, which in turn should drive traction on pricing and further rate growth. We have a proven strategy and remain confident about the long-term prospects for the group.”
Cash flow increased 14 percent to £71.8 million. In September, Big Yellow issued 7.2 million shares, raising £65.3 million. The company is using the capital to acquire new development sites. It has 12 projects in its pipeline with an estimated cost to complete at £109 million. When finished, the properties are expected to add around 820,000 net rentable square feet to its portfolio.
“We continue to look for land and existing storage centers in large urban conurbations, focusing as previously stated on London and the Southeast,” Vetch said. “Should the current uncertainties throw up new opportunities, we will continue as we have been to pursue them aggressively. However, developing stores in these target areas remains challenging given the competition for land and the pressure to produce more housing.”
Total revenue for the year was £125.4 million, a 7 percent increase year over year. Adjusted pre-tax profit was £67.5 million, up 10 percent from 2018. The group's pre-tax “statutory profit” was £126.9 million, a 5 percent decrease compared to the previous fiscal year. The decline was attributed in part to consumer uncertainty surrounding Brexit. The proposed exit date from the E.U. is now scheduled for Oct. 31.
Big Yellow Group operates 99 self-storage locations in the United Kingdom under the Big Yellow Self Storage and Armadillo Self Storage brand names, with most concentrated in Greater London and Southeast England. Its total portfolio comprises 5.7 million square feet.
Big Yellow, Results for the Year Ended 31 March 2019