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Countrywide swings to loss, scraps dividend amid weak sales and lettings performance

By BFN News | 09:15 AM | Thursday 08 March, 2018

Countrywide reported total income of £672m in 2017, down 9% from £737m in 2016, while Adjusted EBITDA fell 23% to £64.7m as sales and lettings income slumped 17%. The company said its new strategy launched in 2015 which included the closure of 200 branches, combining its sales and lettings business and changing performance measures was 'flawed' as UK sales and lettings adjusted EBITDA fell 45% at £26.4m. London sales and lettings fell 10% to £155m from £173m as the London housing market has been slower than the rest of the UK to recover from the double impact in 2016 of increases in stamp duty on high value properties and second homes plus the UK's decision to leave the European Union. The volume of houses exchanged nationally was broadly flat year on year at around 1.2m, but the number of houses exchanged by Countrywide outside of London fell by 17%. As a result sales income fell 24%. Lettings income declined 8% weighed by a 4% reduction in properties under management to 62,646, and a 11% fall in the number of lets agreed. Financial services adjusted EBITDA fell to £19.7m from £22.7m, while B2B adjusted EBITDA rose to £35.6m from £31.5m. Despite an a 5% increase in average house prices, the housebuilder's average fee fell 5% amid competitive pricing pressure. The homebuilder reported a loss after tax of £208.1 million, compared with a profit of £17.5m the previous year, weighed by £225.9m non-cash exceptional charges for goodwill, intangible and other asset impairments. The company scraped the dividend for 2017. At 9:15am: (LON:CWD) Countrywide Plc share price was -11.35p at 77.55p Story provided by

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