Property & Construction

Watkin Jones plc

Market Cap (£m) 416.9
Listing AIM

Analysts

Company Description

Watkin Jones (WJ) develops build-to-rent (BTR) and purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) schemes, largely forward-funded by institutional investors, which acquire sites from WJ 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 WJ 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 growing private and student rental markets. We believe the group should benefit from continuing growth opportunities in new student accommodation and that 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. WJ'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

  • Richard Simpson

    Chief Executive Officer

    Richard joined Watkin Jones Group as Chief Executive Officer on 2 January 2019. He started working in real estate in 2003, holding roles including Group Property Director at Unite Group plc. Prior to starting his career in the industry, Richard served for six years in the British Army. Richard is a qualified chartered surveyor and a fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. He has substantial executive experience in setting the strategic direction for all aspects of property portfolio management as well as holding various Board level roles including seven years serving on the Board of Unite Group plc as well as two years in a Non-Executive capacity with CityWest Homes. Richard was Chair of the British Property Federation’s cross sector Student Accommodation Committee from 2013-2015.

  • Sarah Sergeant

    Chief Financial Officer

    Sarah was appointed to the Board as Chief Financial Officer Designate on 6 October 2021, assuming the CFO role in November 2021. She was previously the Chief Financial Officer of the UK & Ireland region at Compass Group PLC, the FTSE 30 food and support services company. She has held a number of senior finance and operational roles over her 13-year tenure at Compass, including Group Financial Controller, M&A Director, and CFO of the Asia Pacific region, based in Singapore. Sarah brings considerable financial, strategic and operational experience from across the commercial spectrum. She is a chartered accountant.

Key Dates

Nov 2019
5th
CMD
Actual
Jan 2020
14th
Finals
Actual
Feb 2020
13th
AGM
Actual
Apr 2020
1st
Q2 TU
Actual
May 2020
19th
Interims
Actual
Nov 2020
6th
Q4 TU
Actual
Jan 2021
19th
Finals
Actual
Feb 2021
19th
AGM
Actual
Apr 2021
14th
Q2 TU
Actual
May 2021
18th
Interims
Actual
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
Nov 2022
2nd
Q4 TU
Estimate
Jan 2023
18th
Finals
Estimate
Feb 2023
17th
AGM
Estimate
Apr 2023
13th
Q2 TU
Estimate