RESULTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2020
Highlights For the year:
• 3.1% revenue increase largely driven by increases in average rate.
• Average rate up 2.7% year-on-year.
• Cash flow from operating activities (after net finance costs) increased by 1.9% to £73.6 million.
• Adjusted profit before tax up 5.2% to £71.0 million.
• 1.8% increase in total dividend to 33.8 pence per share.
• Statutory profit before tax of £93.4 million, down 26% from prior year due to lower revaluation gain on investment properties.
• Acquisition of three new development sites in Harrow, Hayes (both London) and Slough taking the pipeline to 13 sites totalling approximately 880,000 sq ft.
• Planning consent secured on three proposed stores in year, six in total now have planning.
• New £35 million seven-year loan secured from existing lender Aviva.
• The necessary protocols and provisioning of equipment required to keep our staff and customers safe were rapidly and effectively implemented following the lockdown, greatly facilitated by work previously carried out in partially automating our processes Post year end.
• Placing of 8.3 million shares in April 2020 raising £79.9 million (net of expenses) to grow our development pipeline, current net debt £265 million with available liquidity of £162 million.
• In the period from 1 April 2020 to 8 June 2020, we have seen 38,000 sq ft of occupancy growth (2019: growth of 24,000 sq ft) and 1.4% growth in net rent per sq ft (2019: growth of 0.5%). Current like-for-like occupancy is 82.0%.
Nicholas Vetch, Executive Chairman of Big Yellow, commented:
"We, together with every other business, have experienced two seismic external shocks in twelve years. As was the case with the global financial crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic will most likely accelerate and accentuate pre-existing structural trends, challenges and opportunities and no doubt catalyse some that are currently unforeseen. For this business there will be some negatives but a good deal of positives which we believe give us grounds for reasonable optimism. It will take time for those competing forces to play out and some clarity to emerge which will become evident in the performance of the business over the next few years. Layered on to these powerful undercurrents will be cyclical challenges, the magnitude of which it is probably too early to judge. The events of the last few months have doubled down on our strongly held conviction that no management team in any business can confidently predict the timing of these momentous events, all we can assume and know with certainty is that they will happen again. It therefore leaves us in no doubt that this business should be financed conservatively with a modest amount of debt. Although it has only been a couple of months, the business has so far proved to be relatively resilient through the initial lockdown phase, but as always we caution that we have limited visibility as to future trading patterns. In light of the above we will continue with our long-held strategy of building new stores in our core area of activity in London and its commuter towns, where we may see more opportunity in the next few years. We are actively continuing to pursue this external growth strategy, whilst maintaining a conservative capital structure.”