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Agencies & People

Trading in Countrywide shares frozen as price hits new all-time low

London Stock Exchange twice briefly suspends trading yesterday as speculation over potential sale makes for a volatile day.

Nigel Lewis

countrywide

Countrywide’s share price dropped to an all-time low of just 7.05p yesterday during volatile trading in its stock on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

This saw its share price vary so much that the algorithms that police the LSE twice halted trading for five minutes to force investors to consider their bids more carefully.

The mechanism, called a Price Monitoring Extension, is designed to cool frantic markets for short periods and prevent ‘frenzies’ or panicky or speculative trading taking place.

It is usually triggered when a company’s share price varies by a pre-agreed percentage below or above its usual level within a short period, although it is relatively unusual for a large blue-chip company like Countrywide to experience this.

Countrywide shares

But Countrywide is no ordinary company. Following its well-documented problems both during and following the Alison Platt years, its share price tanked in July 2018 from just under 50p a share to 15p and has been sinking slowly ever since.

Countrywide’s share price volatility is being created in part by ongoing speculation that investors may tire of waiting for the long-awaited turnaround in its fortunes and accept a hostile offer to buy the company.

Speculation has been rife among investors that its two prime brands John D Wood and Hamptons International alone could be worth more if sold off separately than the entire company at the moment. At the end of trading today Countrywide had a market capitalisation of £121.38 million.

April 24, 2019

One comment

  1. Sadly I do not foresee any buyer for Countrywide, there are some key assets, but better to purchase these in September when they can be bought far cheaper.

    Also, market capitalisation values have little meaning these days, with start up businesses proclaiming cap values often in the billion pound mark, even though they have never turned a profit or paid a dividend.

    Half a decade ago Countrywide shares were in excess of 565p a share, in the last week they were just over 7p, why?

    Because many businesses have become dinosaurs; not just estate agents, but in all service and retail sectors, and the culprits? Those at the top of these businesses who failed to adapt.

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