- Hostel group Safestay swung to a first-half profit after proceeds from asset sales to shore up its balance sheet helped offset pressure on revenue from pandemic-led travel curbs.

Pre-tax profit for the six months through June amounted to £3.6 million, compared to year-on-year losses of £4.7 million, and included a £7.1 million profit on the sale of assets in Edinburgh and Barcelona.

Before exceptional items, Safestay recoded an operating loss of £2.6 million.

Trading restrictions meant the company's hostels were closed for 83% of the first half, with reopening commencing from late May, keeping occupancy down at 19%.

Safestay completed sale of a 150-year lease interest in its Edinburgh hostel on 30 June for £16.0 million.

It sold a leasehold in the Barcelona Sea hostel sold on 26 February for £0.8 million.

Since reopening, the company had achieved occupancy from primarily domestic customers in July and August of 38% and 43%, respectively.

'Group bookings from colleges and schools are starting to return for the winter period and summer 2022 showing the fundamental appeal of our premium hostels remains unchanged and when our market does normalise, we will have a great opportunity to grow market share,' chairman Larry Lipman said.

'As we relaunch the business post covid, we recently announced to undertake a strategic review in order to maximise value for all shareholders.'

'This process will reveal whether there is additional value for shareholders compared to the upside we believe we can deliver.'

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