The Aim 100 2018: 40 to 31

The Aim 100 2018: 40 to 31

40. Watkin Jones

Watkin Jones (WJG) is cashing in on the shortage of purpose-built student accommodation in the UK, and has already forward sold all its student developments for 2018-19 and most for the following academic year. It also benefits from having a capital-light business model, whereby construction is based on a forward funded basis, and on completion it offers a management service for a fee. It is also making headway in the fast-expanding built-to-rent market. This represents a conduit that allows institutional funds to be used to build properties that are then rented out. In return, the institution, such as a pension fund, receives a rental income and any capital appreciation, while Watkin Jones gets paid on a forward funded basis for the construction. 

Trading is expected to be in line with expectations for the year to September 2018 but, despite a reassuring update, analysts have not upgraded their forecasts as yet. And with uncertainty over the 30 per cent stake owned by the Watkin Jones family, in the wake of the resignation for personal reasons of chief executive Mark Watkin Jones, at 189p we’re keeping the shares on a hold. JC

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