Presentation by the management team of Watkin Jones – 02/02/2023

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.

Panelists: CEO Richard Simpson and CFO Sarah Sergeant

Watch the full presentation below or navigate to the segments and questions that interest you the most.

1. How can you reduce the 50% of student residential properties that go to external third party management providers and what are the main reasons they go to external providers?

2. Looking at forecasts in Progressive's note, it seems there will be continued falls in gross margins in BTR each year through to 2024, down to 9%. Could you explain the main reasons for this?

3. Are you taking the availability of business relief to your shareholders into account in your strategic review?

4. Given that you’ve pulled out of Affordable Housing for now, what was the original logic of going into it, with so much more to go after in your core activities?

5. In terms of the 40 heads lost, have a lot of those gone from Affordable Housing or in other areas?

6. When do you start bringing in revenue/profit when you forward sell?

7. You spoke about a captive a few years ago in quite a tough market. Is it realistic to think that’s a possibility now?

8. You mentioned the possibility of getting committed capital through some kind of new vehicle. Is that likely to come through your existing investors and partners, or would you expect that to involve new names?

9. Have the forward sales that didn't complete as expected in September now completed, and if so, were the terms similar to expected in September?

10. Do you have any concerns about the fire safety of cladding on your buildings?

11. Can you compare the pros and cons for institutional investors, of Student Housing vs Build-to-Rent (BTR)?

12. Do weak office / retail sectors create opportunities to acquire some good value brownfield development sites?

Related Content