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Sunnier outlook! Countrywide revises previously gloomy earnings predictions upwards

Britain's biggest estate agency says first half of year hasn't been as bad as expected as sales pipeline improves, but debt refinancing has been delayed.

Nigel Lewis

countrywide

Countrywide has rushed out news of better-than-expected earnings for the first six months of the year, two days ahead of its interim results due on Thursday.

Last month its share price took another tumble when it revealed attempts to halve its debt through equity financing. It also said earnings for the first six months of the year would be £20 million lower than expected.

The debt refinancing is now taking place but proving more difficult than envisaged. Countrywide originally planned to announce a new structure for its £192 million debt this week. But this has now pushed this forward to early August.

Countrywide debt

“The company is continuing to engage in constructive dialogue with its lending banks and its shareholders,” the statement says.

Countrywide’s initial outlook for the first half of 2018 appears to have been too pessimistic. The company says that, although earnings will still be down on last year, its results have been “slightly better”.

“The Group has made significant progress in building back industry expertise and staffing levels in sales and lettings and has seen an increase in the register of properties available for sale and the pipeline of agreed sales,” the statement says.

Countrywide says it expects business to improve during the rest of this year. The second half has been traditionally been its strongest, plus help is at hand from robust performances within its surveying and financial services operations.

July 24, 2018

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