Half year trading update

13 June 2024
 

Safestore Holdings plc
("Safestore", "the Company" or "the Group")

Interim results for the 6 months ended 30 April 2024

 Robust performance in the first half, building on strong foundations, with continued strategic progress
 

Frederic Vecchioli, Safestore's Chief Executive Officer, commented:

"We have delivered robust operating performance in difficult market conditions and have continued to demonstrate the value of our strategy of focusing on REVPAF to optimise returns from our assets.

Our track record has delivered market leading returns with revenue growing 49.3% since pre-pandemic as we grew occupied space by 31.8% and increased rental rates by 14.7% and ancillary revenue by 33.3% across all of our markets. During the period our central pricing approach has meant that we have been able to adapt our approach across our different markets to enable optimisation of revenue.

In the UK, despite a challenging economic backdrop, we have seen solid like-for-like revenue performance with broadly flat average storage rates and a small occupancy decline. We have delivered strong like-for-like revenue growth in our other markets demonstrating the value of our diversified approach led by our Benelux markets with 13.5% like-for-like revenue increases.

In addition, we continue to grow income through our store development programme. In the period new stores and developments, generated an additional £2.2m of revenue, with particularly strong performance in Spain as we leverage the Oh My Box! operating platform.

So far this year we opened six new stores from our development programme, adding 3% to our available rental area. The programme has a further 30 stores, including six in the second half of 2024, which will add 1.5m sq ft of new space when open. These development projects are concentrated, like our existing stores, in the major metropolitan areas in our markets with 94% in the largest cities such as London, Paris, Amsterdam / Randstad, Barcelona and Madrid. We have a clear track record of delivering 10%+ cash returns on new stores and so we are confident that this programme will be accretive on stabilisation after a short period where earnings are impacted.

Overall, we remain confident in our operating model and believe the market across Europe continues to have favourable supply / demand dynamics as reflected in the increase in value of our properties of 5.8% since the October year end.

The business continues to be highly cash generative with free cash flow of £41.0m in the period enabling us to both partially finance our development programme and to declare a 10.0p per share interim dividend to be paid in August.

As we look forward to the rest of the year, we expect to see trading move back into growth in the UK, notwithstanding the current short-term economic uncertainties, with continued growth in Europe leading to overall EPS for the full year in the lower half of consensus forecasts.

Finally, I would like to thank all of our colleagues across our stores and head office whose hard work and customer focus has enabled our results and continued success."

Highlights

Resilient Financial performance

  • Group revenue down 0.8% and in CER down 0.3%
  • H1 2023 revenue included £1.0m of insurance premium tax relating to the sale of customer goods insurance not repeated in 2024. Excluding this, revenue at CER grew 0.7%.
  • Group like-for-like revenue in CER down 0.3%
  • Adjusted Diluted EPRA EPS, down 10.5% at 21.2p (H1 2023: 23.7p)
  • Dividend increase to 10.0p (H1 2023: 9.9p)
  • Investment property value increased 5.8%, with net gain of £121.7m (H1 2023: gain of £47.3m)
  • Strong cash generation with free cash flow increase of 28.5% to £41.0m (H1 2023: £31.9m)
  • Statutory profit before income tax of £173.7m up from £103.4m in H1 2023
  • Adjusted Diluted EPRA Earnings per Share for the full year expected to be in the lower half of the range of consensus estimates
 

Operational and Strategic Progress

  • Consistent like-for-like operational performance driven by continued rate growth
    • Like-for-like revenue down 0.3% in CER
      • UK down 1.5%
      • Paris up 1.4%
      • Spain up 2.4%
      • Benelux up 13.5%
    • Like-for-like industry leading 7.4% increase in REVPAF over the last 3 years.
    • Like-for-like average storage rate for the period up 0.1% in CER
      • UK down 0.2% to £30.45 (H1 2023: £30.51)
      • Paris down 0.6% to €41.78 (H1 2023: €42.02)
      • Spain down 0.8% to €36.71 (H1 2023: €37.00)
      • Benelux up 10.2% to €22.37 (H1 2023: €20.28)
    • Like-for-like closing occupancy down 1.6ppts at 76.9% (H1 2023: 78.5%)
      • UK down 2.6ppts at 75.6% (H1 2023: 78.2%)
      • Paris up 1.0ppts at 81.1% (H1 2023: 80.1%)
      • Spain up 3.6ppts at 77.7% (H1 2023: 74.1%)
      • Benelux up 2.5ppts to 80.0% (H1 2023: 77.5%)
  • Enquiries for the Group consistently well above pre-covid levels in all markets, with 39% enquiry growth over the last five years
  • Openings of 259,700 sq ft in the year to date and post-period end of new capacity across six stores (including satellite stores) in Eastleigh, London- Paddington Park West, Madrid- South 2, Almere, Aalsmeer, and Rotterdam
  • Continue to expand portfolio of stores with a focus on key metropolitan areas with development and extension pipeline of 30 stores and 1.5m sq ft representing c. 18% of the existing portfolio
  • New development or extension sites in the period secured in London / SE England and the Netherlands adding 263,250 sq ft of future MLA at London- Kingston, Welwyn Garden City, St Albans, Hemel Hempstead and Randstad- Utrecht
  • Acquired the freehold interests of two stores in Utrecht and London- Paddington Park West and lease extensions completed for one store in London- Bermondsey
 

Strong and Flexible Balance Sheet

  • 5.8% increase in property valuation (including investment properties under construction)
  • 5.4% increase in EPRA basic NTA per share to £10.03 (FY 2023: £9.52)
  • On 30 April 2024, the Group completed the financing of its RCF accordion option for £100m. This increased the facility to £500m
  • Group loan-to-value ratio ("LTV"14) at 25.7% (FY 2023: 25.4%) and interest cover ratio ("ICR"15) at 5.0x (FY 2023: 6.7x)
  • Ample liquidity with unutilised bank facilities of £245.4m at 30 April 2024 (FY 2023: £197.0m)
  • 68% of debt at fixed interest rates with weighted average term of 4.7 years following refinancing of €51m USPP in May 2024
 

Dowload PDF Copy

 

For further information, please contact:

Safestore Holdings PLC     
Frederic Vecchioli, Chief Executive Officer                   020 8732 1500
Simon Clinton, Chief Financial Officer     
www.safestore.com

Instinctif Partners     
Guy Scarborough                                                          020 7457 2020
Joe Quinlan

Notes
We prepare our financial statements using IFRS. However, we also use a number of adjusted measures in assessing and managing the performance of the business. These measures are not defined under IFRS and they may not be directly comparable with other companies' adjusted measures and are not intended to be a substitute for, or superior to, any IFRS measures of performance. These include like-for-like figures, to aid in the comparability of the underlying business as they exclude the impact on results of purchased, sold, opened or closed stores; and constant exchange rate (CER) figures are provided in order to present results on a more comparable basis, removing FX movements. These metrics have been disclosed because management review and monitor performance of the business on this basis. We have also included a number of measures defined by EPRA, which are designed to enhance transparency and comparability across the European Real Estate sector, see notes 9 and 11 below and "Non-GAAP financial information" in the notes to the financial statements.

1 - Where reported amounts are presented either to the nearest £0.1m or to the nearest 10,000 sq ft, the effect of rounding may impact the reported percentage change.
2 - CER is Constant Exchange Rates (Euro denominated results for the current period have been retranslated at the exchange rate effective for the comparative period.  Euro denominated results for the comparative period are translated at the exchange rates effective in that period.  This is performed in order to present the reported results for the current period on a more comparable basis).
3 - H1 2023 Revenue included £1.0m of insurance premium tax relating to the sale of customer goods insurance not repeated in FY 2024 due to a change in the way customer goods protection is provided in the UK. Excluding this, revenue at CER grew 0.7%. Cost of goods sold in H1 2023 included 1.0m of additional costs similarly not repeated in FY 2024
4 - Underlying EBITDA is defined as Operating Profit before exceptional items, share-based payments, corporate transaction costs, change in fair value of derivatives, gain/loss on investment properties, variable lease payments, depreciation and the share of associate's depreciation, interest and tax. Underlying EBITDA therefore excludes all leasehold rent charges. Underlying profit before tax is defined as underlying EBITDA less leasehold rent, depreciation charged on property, plant and equipment and net finance charges relating to bank loans and cash.
5 - Occupancy excludes offices but includes bulk tenancy. As at 30 April 2024, closing occupancy includes 18,000 sq ft of bulk tenancy (30 April 2023: 18,000 sq ft).
6 - MLA is Maximum Lettable Area. At 30 April 2024, Group MLA was 8.23m sq ft (30 April 2023: 7.99m sq ft).
7 - Average Storage Rate is calculated as the revenue generated from self-storage revenues divided by the average square footage occupied during the period in question.
8 - Revenue per Available Square Foot ("REVPAF") is an alternate performance measure used by the business and is considered by management as the best KPI of economic performance of a mature self-storage asset as it is the net outcome of the occupancy/rate mix plus ancillary sales. It is calculated by dividing revenue for the period by weighted average available square feet for the same period.
9 - Adjusted Diluted EPRA EPS is based on the European Public Real Estate Association's definition of Earnings and is defined as profit or loss for the period after tax but excluding corporate transaction costs, change in fair value of derivatives, gain/loss on investment properties and the associated tax impacts. The Company then makes further adjustments for the impact of exceptional items, IFRS 2 share-based payment charges, exceptional tax items, and deferred tax charges. This adjusted earnings is divided by the diluted number of shares. The IFRS 2 cost is excluded as it is written back to distributable reserves and is a non-cash item (with the exception of the associated National Insurance element). Therefore, neither the Company's ability to distribute nor pay dividends are impacted (with the exception of the associated National Insurance element). The financial statements will disclose earnings on a statutory, EPRA and Adjusted Diluted EPRA basis and will provide a full reconciliation of the differences in the financial year in which any LTIP awards may vest.
10 - Free cash flow is defined as cash flow before investing and financing activities but after leasehold rent payments.
11 - EPRA's Best Practices Recommendations guidelines for Net Asset Value ("NAV") metrics are EPRA Net Tangible Assets ("NTA"), EPRA Net Reinstatement Value ("NRV") and EPRA Net Disposal Value ("NDV"). EPRA NTA is considered to be the most relevant measure for the Group's business which provides sustainable long term progressive returns and is now the primary measure of net assets. The basis of calculation, including a reconciliation to reported net assets, is set out in note 14.
12 - Like-for-like adjustments remove the impact of the 2024 openings and post-period end openings at Eastleigh, South Madrid 2, Almere, Aalsmeer, and Rotterdam, the 2023 acquisition of Apeldoorn and the 2023 openings of Wigan, London-Morden, Ellesmere Port, North Barcelona, South Barcelona, Central Barcelona 3, South Madrid, North Madrid, East Madrid, and Amersfoort.
13 - Operating profit increased by £71.4m to £186.3m (30 April 2023: £114.9m) compared to last year, principally as a result of an increase the gain on Investment properties of £74.4m to £121.7m (30 April 2023: £47.3m).
14 - LTV ratio is Loan-to-Value ratio, which is defined as net debt (excluding lease liabilities) as a proportion of the valuation of investment properties and investment properties under construction (excluding lease liabilities). At 30 April 2024, the Group LTV ratio was 25.7%. (31 October 2023: 25.4%)
15 - ICR is interest cover ratio and is calculated as the ratio of underlying EBITDA after leasehold rent to underlying finance charges.
16 - As at the date of publication, the consensus of 12 analysts' forecasts of Adjusted EPRA EPS was 46.1p.

Reconciliations between underlying metrics and statutory metrics can be found in the financial review and financial statements sections of this announcement.
Subscribe to our email alerts
Find a store & Get a quote
Complete your quote

You’re almost done!

Complete your quote at