July 31, 2019 / 7:08 AM / 25 days ago

Countrywide profit more than halves as Brexit bites

(Reuters) - British real estate agent Countrywide Plc’s (CWD.L) on Wednesday reported a sharp fall in core earnings in the first half of the year, blaming the impact of Brexit-related uncertainties on residential and commercial property markets.

The company said adjusted core earnings - before implementing the new financial reporting standards - fell to 3.9 million pounds in the six months ended June 30, from 9.9 million pounds a year earlier.

“With the continued delay in Brexit, the first six months of 2019 have been challenging for the UK housing market with new listings overall for H1 2019 having declined by 7% according to Rightmove data,” the company said in a statement.

Countrywide, like rival Foxtons (FOXT.L), has already flagged uncertainty due to Brexit, which it said, is affecting its property markets in London and the South.

Countrywide has been trying to recover from a botched 2015 restructuring that led to four profit warnings and a deeply discounted share issue, but Britain’s cooling real estate market has compounded its problems.

Total income fell to 290.6 million pounds from 302.9 million pounds a year earlier, with a fall in sales and lettings in the period.

Countrywide, which was founded in 1986 and runs 60 high street brands including Hamptons International, Bairstow Eves and Bridgfords, said on Wednesday its register and pipeline of agreed sales was healthy and it had rebuilt market share.

“Management efforts cannot wane: delivering on cost-cutting efforts remains essential against the continued tough backdrop,” Jefferies analysts said.

The company said annual results will be in line with its expectations.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain and Samantha Machado in Bengaluru, editing by Louise Heavens

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