FREE Instant Online Valuation

Click Here

Speculation over job losses at Countrywide as shares get second day of clobbering

There is speculation that a new raft of redundancies is going ahead at Countrywide, after shares yesterday fell to an all-time low.

Sources have told us that a new consultation has been announced internally, with redundancies likely at regional and management level, amid a re-structure.

Casualties are now believed to include very senior people at John D Wood, and Bairstow Eves & Mann London, with sources naming specific people – at least one of whom appears to have left the company overnight.

One of the sources described the latest round of sackings as ‘massive’ and a ‘bloodbath’.

Countrywide has confirmed that there are to be more branch closures and an on-going cull of brands.

Of the rumoured job losses, a Countrywide spokesperson told EYE: “We don’t comment on speculation.

“As you know, we provided an update to markets on the progress of Building our Future as part of our Q3 trading update earlier today, noting that we made good progress this year with our strategy.

“We will continue to keep our people, customers and the market updated on our progress as appropriate.”

The Q3 trading trading update, issued yesterday, was not however warmly greeted by the City.

Countrywide’s share price fell heavily, to a record low, after the double whammy of the fees ban and the Q3 trading update, which revealed a collapse in its pipeline that will have implications for its performance to the end of the year.

By the end of September its pipeline business across the UK was down 16% on a year ago, and in London down 26%. Countrywide also said that exchanges fell 29% in the three months to the end of September compared with the same period last year.

The City reacted negatively. The shares were clobbered for the second day running and yesterday tumbled 12.89% to 169.20p, and at one point hit 165.90p.

The shares hit a 52-week high last December of 428.40p.

Yesterday’s price meant that Countrywide’s shares are now some 48% down on six months ago, 58% on the year to date, and 62% down on three years ago.

Meanwhile, analysts at brokers Peel Hunt said the fees ban, if introduced immediately, would hit Foxtons’ pre-tax profits next year to the tune of 11.4%, and Countrywide’s by 8.3%.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Foxtons’ shares also had a bumpy second day on the stock market yesterday, following the fees ban, falling 3.25% to stand at 102.25p – almost half the 52-week high reached in January of 201.50p, and down 58% in the year to date.

A spokesperson for Foxtons said of the ban: “This was an unexpected announcement and the details and timing of the new policy are not yet known. As we get more clarity, we will review the impact to our customers and on our business.”

There was misery too for Belvoir, with an 8.3% fall to 112.2p, while its close competitor Martinco saw 10.71% wiped off its share price, down at 128.50p.

Savills shares went down 0.71% and LSL shares fell by just under 1%.

Purplebricks bucked the trend, with its shares going up 2.75%. However, at 112.50p, they are now not far off their launch price of 100p.

COMMENT here

Has your property's value increased? Call 01233 501601

Wonder Property Tree Homes Flow The Times Property-ombudsman CM Protect DPS UKALA