Property & Construction

Watkin Jones PLC

  • Market Cap (£m) 122.1
  • Listing AIM

Eight Page Summary

Analysts

Company Description

Watkin Jones (WJG) develops build-to-rent (BTR) and purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) schemes, largely forward-funded by institutional investors, which acquire sites from WJG with the benefit of planning and then pay for the works monthly as development progresses, thus reducing capital tie-up for WJ. The group also provides an accommodation management service through its Fresh Property Group (FPG) business, which manages both WJG and third-party developed assets, and operates a more traditional housebuilding business focused on the North West. The company, which was founded by carpenter Huw Jones in 1791, evolved as a developer before specialising in student accommodation, and was admitted to AIM in 2016.

Investment Summary

We believe WJ offers a unique low-risk, capital-light development and asset management model for the private and student rental markets. The group should benefit from continuing growth opportunities in new student accommodation, while its experience offers it 'early mover advantage' in the less mature but potentially faster growing BTR sector. This is all tied together by FPG in what we have defined as a 'virtuous circle'. The forward-funding model offers attractive margins but with little capital tie-up and risk since the institutional investors then own the assets and assume long-term rental exposure. WJG's development risk is minimised by setting fixed-cost contracts with its supply chains. FPG enjoys good revenue visibility due to long-term contracts with building owners.

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Company Management Team

  • Alex Pease

    Chief Executive Officer

    Alex joined Watkin Jones in 2010 and took on the role of Group Investment Director in 2013. He was appointed as Chief Investment Officer in 2021. In July 2023, Alex took up the Interim Chief Executive Officer role and in November he was appointed Chief Executive Officer. Prior to Watkin Jones, Alex spent six years in the Savills Residential Investment team where he specialised in brokerage, consultancy and valuation across all residential asset classes. Alex is a chartered surveyor (MRICS).

  • Simon Jones

    Chief Financial Officer

    Simon was appointed to the Board as Chief Financial Officer Designate in May 2024 and assumed the role of Chief Financial Officer in June 2024. He was previously Chief Financial Officer of Mapeley Group, the property outsourcing specialist. Prior to this, he held a number of senior finance roles within, amongst others, Bass PLC (now IHG Group PLC), Hilton and Whitbread PLC. Simon qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG.

Key Dates

Nov 2021
2nd
CMD
Actual
Jan 2022
18th
Finals
Actual
Feb 2022
17th
AGM
Actual
Apr 2022
13th
Q2 TU
Actual
May 2022
17th
Interims
Actual
Oct 2022
4th
Q4 TU
Actual
Jan 2023
25th
Finals
Actual
Feb 2023
28th
AGM
Actual
Apr 2023
13th
Q2 TU
Actual
May 2023
23rd
Interims
Actual
Jul 2023
19th
Q3 TU
Actual
Oct 2023
11th
Q4 TU
Actual
Jan 2024
23rd
Finals
Actual
Feb 2024
1st
IE Group Meeting
Actual
Feb 2024
29th
AGM
Actual
Apr 2024
23rd
Q2 TU
Actual
May 2024
21st
Interims
Actual
Oct 2024
11th
Q4 TU
Estimate
Jan 2025
23rd
Finals
Estimate
Mar 2025
1st
AGM
Estimate
Apr 2025
23rd
Q2 TU
Estimate
May 2025
21st
Interims
Estimate