Unite Students

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Unite Group Plc
Public (LSEUTG)
Industry Student accommodation#Off campus residences
Founded 1991
Founder Nicholas Porter
Headquarters Bristol, United Kingdom
Key people
Phil White CBE, (Chairman)
Richard Smith (CEO)
Joe Lister (CFO)
Products Student accommodation (halls of residence)
Services Property investment and development
Revenue £119.3 million (2017)[1]
£155.0 million (2017)[1]
£223.8 million (2017)[1]
Number of employees
1,262 (2017)[1]
Website www.unite-group.co.uk

Unite Students provides Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) across the United Kingdom. ‘Unite Students’ is the trade 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.[2] The business was founded by Nicholas Porter who, aged 21 and following research with the University of the West of England, recognised a growing demand for student accommodation.[3] After a period of expansion within Bristol, in 1998 Unite opened its first properties in London. It became a listed company on the Alternative Investment Market the following year.[4]

In 2000 the business moved its share register to the London Stock Exchange, and opened properties in Manchester, Liverpool and Portsmouth.[5] During the following decade Unite created investment vehicles to secure rapid 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.[6] In 2006 founder Nicholas Porter announced he was stepping down as Chief Executive. He was replaced at the end of the year by Chief Financial Officer Mark Allan.[7]

Former National Express Chief Executive Phil White CBE became Non-Executive Chairman in May 2009, replacing Geoffrey Maddrell who had previously announced his departure after 10 years in the role.[8] By 2011 the business had grown to 40,000 beds. It remains the UK’s biggest provider of student accommodation by capacity.[9] In 2012 it founded charitable trust The Unite Foundation, which provides free accommodation and a cost-of-living allowance to students from “challenging circumstances”.[10] 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.[11]

Unite Group converted to a real estate investment trust with effect from 1 January 2017.[12]


The company provides residential accommodation to around 50,000 students in circa 140 buildings across the UK.[13] Unite Students is the largest and oldest PBSA provider in the UK.[14]

Notable properties


  1. ^ a b c d "Annual Report 2017" (PDF). Unite Students. Retrieved 30 March 2018. 
  2. ^ "Bristol Post Business Awards: Unite Students take top award". South West Business. 6 July 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  3. ^ "Nicholas Porter - The Sunday Times". thesundaytimes.co.uk. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "This week: PNC Tele.com, Unite Group, Axiomlab". This is Money. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  5. ^ "Our story so far". Unite Students. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "Bedell". bedellgroup.com. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "Student digs chief steps down with honours". Property Week. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "Unite Group taps Phil White as new chairman". propertyeu.info. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  9. ^ "Unite Students set for 399-bed Aberdeen development". Property Week. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "About Us". unitefoundation.co.uk. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  11. ^ "Home for Success". unite-group.co.uk. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  12. ^ "Notice of General Meeting for REIT Conversion and Trading Update". unite-group.co.uk. Retrieved 6 November 2017. 
  13. ^ "Unite lights touchpaper in the search for fire security innovation". BFM Magazine. 28 April 2017. 
  14. ^ "Unite snaps up Cordea Savills' £137m student housing portfolio". Financial Times. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  15. ^ "Grand Central". Emporis. Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  16. ^ "Worlds Tallest Student Block Completes In Leeds". Skyscraper News. 2009-06-26. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  17. ^ "Newham Recorder". 2014-09-18. Retrieved 2014-01-07. 

External links

  • Official site
  • Student Accommodation site
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