LONDON (Alliance News) - Real estate advisor Savills PLC Thursday posted a rise in pretax profits and in the first half and hiked its interim dividend, as strong performance in its UK and European businesses offset the continued weak volumes for its Hong Kong, mainland China and Singapore arms.
Pretax profit in the six months to June 30 was up 15% to GBP24.7 million, against GBP21.4 million a year earlier, prompting the firm to hike its interim dividend 7.1% to 3.75 pence from 3.50 pence last year.
Transaction Advisory revenue growth hit 12%, pushed higher by UK and European markets. Consultancy revenue rose 14% year-on-year in the half-year, with profits from the division rising 33% against 2013.
Revenue for the group in the UK was up 15%, with profit from the UK business rising 24%, while Continental Europe revenue was up 18%, generating a GBP0.1 million pretax profit, after having last year posted a GBP2.6 million loss in the comparable period. The firm also saw an encouraging performance in its US arm, where revenues nearly tripled, mostly due to the acquisition of Studley Inc in May.
But Asia-Pacific revenues were down 7% in the period, falling to GBP158.1 million from GBP169.1 million last year. Both commercial and residential revenues were down in the region, with volumes falling 45% in its key Hong Kong and China markets.
"Savills has delivered a strong first-half performance slightly ahead of our expectations as a result of our strength in key transactional markets in the UK, recovery in Continental Europe and the resilience of the Asia Pacific business where the stable foundation of property management represents over 60% of revenue," said Savills Chief Executive Jeremy Helsby.
"Looking to the second half, we currently see no significant change in the overall outlook for our business, and the board remains confident in its expectations for the full year," Helsby added.
Savills shares were up 2.7% to 590.00 pence early Thursday, putting the firm near the top of the FTSE 250.