StockMarketWire.com - Residential property developer Watkin Jones posted a rise in annual profits 'slightly ahead' of its previous expectations, driven by strong student accommodation sales.

Pre-tax profit for the year through September rose 26% to £54.3m, as revenue rose 20% to £363.1m.

Watkin Jones declared an annual dividend of 7.6p per share, up 15% on-year.

Gross margins slipped to 20%, back from 21%, though were still 'robust', reflecting high-quality locations of student accommodation developments, the company said.

'Today Watkin Jones has reported a record set of full year results which show that the group has performed strongly across all key financial metrics of the business,' chief executive Richard Simpson said.

'We continue to have excellent visibility of our future revenues and earnings, supported by the pipeline of forward sold and secured sites for student accommodation.'

'The locations and forward sale values we have achieved for these schemes underpin our earnings expectations from this division over the next twelve months and beyond.'

'Our success in securing the significant build to rent development agreements in Reading and Wembley, together with our secured pipeline of sites, is highly encouraging.

'In addition, our residential and accommodation management divisions are well positioned to contribute to progressive earnings growth.'

'As a result, we remain confident in the outlook for the group.'




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