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Centurion Corp Q3 revenue down by 11.2% as pandemic hits student housing market

MAINBOARD-LISTED dormitory operator Centurion Corp's third-quarter revenue was dragged down by student housing operations in Australia and Britain, even as contributions from worker accommodations held steady.

Turnover shrank 11.2 per cent year on year to S$29.4 million, according to a business update released last Friday night, which did not state earnings for the three months to Sept 30.

Workers' dormitories contributed S$22.8 million of the top line, stable on the year before, while student housing revenue was down by 39.4 per cent to S$6.16 million.

Centurion noted that the student housing segment was affected in key markets such as Manchester, Liverpool and Melbourne, which have faced severe virus outbreaks.

The outlook for this portfolio "remains uncertain and dependent on containment measures undertaken by the impacted countries and cities, and when university programmes as well as inter-state and international travel can resume", it said.

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Uncertainty on the worker accommodation front stems from the impact of virus management measures imposed by governments, as well as the hit to clients.

But the group also noted that it has won a tender to lease and manage four new quick-build dormitories in Singapore - in line with its asset-light growth strategy - and has resumed expansion works at a facility in Johor, which should be completed by Q1 2021.

Centurion added that it remains confident in the long-term fundamentals of its business, including the resilience of both the student and worker housing asset classes.

Chief executive Kong Chee Min said in a statement that business conditions are still fluid, but added that Centurion has taken steps for prudent capital management, including deferring some capital expenditure and refinancing medium-term notes.

Shares closed at S$0.32 on Friday, before the results were out.

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