News Column

Countrywide Expects 2014 Profit At Top End Of Forecasts

May 6, 2014

Anthony Tshibangu

LONDON (Alliance News) - Estate agency Countrywide PLC Tuesday said it expects to deliver full-year profit at the top end of its expectations after a strong first quarter which saw its lettings business thrive as the UK's housing market continues its recovery.

In an interim management statement for the period up to May 5, the property services group, which operates through various brands including Bairstow Eves and John D Wood & Co, said total income in the first quarter rose to GBP157.1 million for GBP121 million in the first quarter of 2013.

Countrywide said first quarter 2014 revenue and earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation rose 20% and 50%, respectively, compared with the same period in 2013.

It said house exchanges were up 29% during the period compared with the first quarter 2013, while residential lettings properties under management volumes rose 28%. The number of mortgages arranged also increased 33% in the first quarter 2014 compared with the same period in 2013.

During 2014 the company said it has expanded through the acquisition of Tucker Gardner, a sales and lettings business in Cambridge and surrounding areas, and Preston Bennett, an agent in land and new homes in North London. The company also opened five new branches across its estate agency and lettings network.

In a separate note, Zoopla Property Group Ltd said it is experiencing record levels of traffic to its websites and mobile apps, with 39.9 million monthly visits on average during the first half up from 29.0 million a year earlier, while revenue has increased 26% during the period.

The company, in which Countrywide holds a 6% stake, posted revenue of GBP38.3 million for the six months ended March 31, up from GBP30.3 million a year earlier.

Daily Mail and General Trust PLC holds the majority 52.6% stake in Zoopla.

Zoopla said mobile devices now account for over half of the monthly visits as consumers use the group's services to search and research the property market at work, at home and on the move.

The stock was trading at 609.92 pence Tuesday, up 19.92 pence or 3.4%.

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Source: Alliance News