Unite Students

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Unite Group Plc
Traded asLSEUTG
IndustryStudent accommodation#Off campus residences
FounderNicholas Porter
Key people
Phil White CBE, (Chairman)
Richard Smith (CEO)
Joe Lister (CFO)
ProductsStudent accommodation (halls of residence)
ServicesProperty investment and development
Revenue£128.3 million (2018)[1]
£163.5 million (2018)[1]
£237.3 million (2018)[1]
Number of employees
1,400 (2019)[2]

Unite Students provides purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) across the United Kingdom. Unite Students is the trading name for The Unite Group Plc, a London Stock Exchange listed Real estate investment trust and a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.


A Unite Students facility near Tottenham Hale station

The Unite Group was founded by Nicholas Porter in Bristol in 1991.[3] Aged 21 and following research with the University of the West of England, he recognised a growing demand for student accommodation.[4] After a period of expansion within Bristol, in 1998 Unite opened its first properties in London. It listed on the Alternative Investment Market the following year.[5]

In 2000 the business moved its share register to the London Stock Exchange, and opened properties in Manchester, Liverpool and Portsmouth.[6] During the following decade, Unite created investment vehicles to secure growth in London, across England and into Scotland. Of these vehicles, The Unite UK Student Accommodation Fund (USAF) is Europe's largest fund focusing solely on direct-let student accommodation.[7] In 2006, Porter announced he was stepping down as chief executive. He was succeeded at the end of the year by chief financial officer Mark Allan.[8]

Former National Express chief executive Phil White became non-executive chairman in May 2009, succeeding Geoffrey Maddrell, after ten years in the role.[9] By 2011 the business had grown to 40,000 beds. It remains the UK's largest provider of student accommodation by capacity,[10] but second to IQ Student Accommodation by value of its portfolio of property.[11]

In 2012 it founded charitable trust The Unite Foundation, which provides free accommodation and a cost-of-living allowance to students from "challenging circumstances".[12] In April 2014 Unite renamed itself "Unite Students". Simultaneously, it launched its "Home for Success" corporate philosophy; which it describes as its "business purpose". The Home for Success announcement included a £40m reinvestment of profits into the business and 16 "signature commitments", all of which relate to an improved student experience.[13]

Unite Group converted to a real estate investment trust with effect from 1 January 2017.[14]


The company provides residential accommodation to around 50,000 students in circa 140 buildings across the UK,[15] and is the largest and oldest PBSA provider in the country.[16]

Notable properties[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Annual Results 2018" (PDF). Unite Students. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  2. ^ "About us". Unite Students. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Bristol Post Business Awards: Unite Students take top award". South West Business. 6 July 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  4. ^ "Nicholas Porter - The Sunday Times". thesundaytimes.co.uk. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  5. ^ "This week: PNC Tele.com, Unite Group, Axiomlab". This is Money. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  6. ^ "Our story so far". Unite Students. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  7. ^ "Bedell". bedellgroup.com. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  8. ^ "Student digs chief steps down with honours". Property Week. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Unite Group taps Phil White as new chairman". propertyeu.info. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Unite Students set for 399-bed Aberdeen development". Property Week. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  11. ^ Curry, Rhiannon (18 February 2018). "RBS director to chair UK's largest student digs company". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 September 2018 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  12. ^ "About Us". unitefoundation.co.uk. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  13. ^ "Home for Success". unite-group.co.uk. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Notice of General Meeting for REIT Conversion and Trading Update". unite-group.co.uk. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  15. ^ "Unite lights touchpaper in the search for fire security innovation". BFM Magazine. 28 April 2017.
  16. ^ "Unite snaps up Cordea Savills' £137m student housing portfolio". Financial Times. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  17. ^ "Grand Central". Emporis. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
  18. ^ "Worlds Tallest Student Block Completes In Leeds". Skyscraper News. 26 June 2009. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  19. ^ "Newham Recorder". 18 September 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014.

External links[edit]