Self-storage company Safestore Hldgs Plc (LON:SAFE) reported an underlying EBITDA increase of 2.3% to £22.9m for the six months to April 30, with rental rate and occupancy growth in both the UK and Paris. Safestore, which is the UK’s largest and Europe’s second largest self storage provider, saw revenues grow by 2.8% to £42.4m from £41.3m. Shares in the group rose by 4.7% to 116.25p.

Elsewhere, EPRA adjusted earnings per share were up 17.6% to 3.68p from 3.13p. Safestore's property portfolio was valued at £655.4m at the year end, an increase of £7.6m since October. The company increased its interim dividend by 3% to 1.7p from 1.65p. Its average rental rate was up 1.1% to £25.51 per square foot on the same period last year. Occupancy increased by 53,000 sq ft compared with a loss of 11,200 sq ft in H1 last year. Safestore had more than 40,000 customers, up 6.5% from April 2009, with an increased level of enquiries.

Steve Williams, Safestore's chief executive, said: "It is encouraging that the business has continued to perform well in what is still a challenging market. The first half has seen an increase in revenue and underlying EBITDA over the same period last year which has been mainly driven by a solid rental rate and much improved occupancy movement performance in both the UK and Paris. The second half of the year has begun positively with high levels of new enquiries and reservations, nearing the record levels seen in late 2007. We continue to see progression on the rate per sq ft and we have seen the underlying occupancy movement trading ahead of the prior year for 11 consecutive months."

In May 2010, Safestore was awarded a six-year management contract for the Space Maker self-storage business, giving it an additional revenue stream. It said the contract will be immediately earnings enhancing. The company said it remained confident of the outcome for the full year. Trading had started positively in the second half and early signs were of improved trends in the level of customer enquiries and new lets. Occupancy growth remained positive with rental rates also improving.


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