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Countrywide income drops in Q1, as expected

Staff Writer | April 27, 2017
Integrated property services group Countrywide reported a drop in revenue for the first quarter, in line with its expectations.
Countrywide   Increased transactions on buy-to-let properties
In a trading update for the quarter to the end of March, the company said total group income fell to £162m from £187m in the same period a year ago.

Countrywide pointed out that the first quarter of 2016 was boosted by increased transactions on buy-to-let properties and second homes due to changes in stamp duty coming into effect on 1 April.

However, the underlying performance in the first quarter of this year was dented by a continuation of the declining market trends seen in the final quarter of 2016, which led to a 29% drop in house sales exchanges on a like-for-like basis.

These trends were in line with the group's plans for the year at the time of the full year results.

Countrywide said it continues to see the benefits from its cost transformation programme, with many initiatives enabled by the additional financial flexibility following the successful share placing in March.

Chief executive officer Alison Platt said: "In the first quarter of the year market trends were as anticipated.

"The snap general election called for 8 June 2017 is not expected to significantly alter the overall level of market transactions for 2017 and we still expect the market to be around 5% below 2016 levels.

"Our financial performance has been consistent with our plans and on this basis, we maintain our current financial outlook for the full year."

In a separate statement, the company announced the appointment of Natalie Ceeney as non-executive director with effect from Friday.

Ceeney has held various senior executive positions and most recently was chief executive of HM Courts and Tribunals Service, Head of Customer Standards of HSBC UK and chief executive of the Financial Ombudsman Service.