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‘Come back to us’, Countrywide’s Peter Long asks departed talent as profits sink

As Executive Chairman reveals profits down by 45% within its sales and lettings operation he regrets "loss of talent" during Platt years.

Nigel Lewis

countrywide

Countrywide’s Executive Chairman Peter Long (pictured, above) has called for the senior figures who left the business during the Alison Platt years to return to the company as the company reveals its latest figures.

Overall income reduced by 9% during 2017 and profits dropped by 23%, driven by a poorly-performing sales and lettings where profits fell by 45% from £48.4 million in 2016 to £26.4 million last year.

This is a third year in a row the results from its core branch network have been poor.

Countrywide’s mortgage business, which is highly dependent on its pipeline from the branches, also generated less profit last year, down from £22.7 million to £19.7 million.

But one area of the business doing well is its B2B services operation. Profits increased by 13% to £35.6 million driven by surveying, and its commercial business outfit Lambert Smith Hampton.

The 2017 results also reveal that although the company made an underlying profit of £19.5 million during 2017, nearly half that of 2016, it has reported a loss of £208.1 million after taking a £225.9 million hit for exception items.

The company says it will not pay a dividend for 2017.

In response to the figures, Countrywide says it is “going back to basics” in sales and lettings in order to reverse the decline and will be cutting costs further and managing cash flow better.

This, it claims, will “lay the foundations to restore profitable growth” this year.

Referring to the departure of Countrywide CEO Alison Platt and the more long-term brain-drain from the company that was a feature of her tenure at the top, Executive Chairman Peter Long  says: “The under-performance of our business over the last three years has resulted in us making significant management change in the Group.

“Industry expertise in all areas of our business is key. Within Sales and Lettings, the previous strategy resulted in us losing a lot of that expertise.

“In the Group, we are fortunate in that we have an industry veteran, Paul Creffield (pictured, left), who has been promoted to the role of Group operations director.

“His deep understanding of the market and operations means that we have quickly been able to identify what we need to do to begin addressing our under-performance.

“I am greatly encouraged by the number of high calibre industry business leaders that we already have within our Sales and Lettings business and a number of similarly experienced and high calibre industry people who previously left us, and [who may] want to rejoin now that Paul is in this role.”

Read more about Countrywide.

 

March 8, 2018

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