Profits Up 47% At Countrywide PLC

UK estate agency group Countrywide (LSE: CWD) today announced its first set of half-year results since it re-joined the stock market in March.

The group, which operates estate agency brands like Hamptons International, Mann and Bairstow Eves reported its strongest first-half performance since 2007, though the shares fell 2% in early trading this morning.

Operating profit (before exceptional items) increased by 47% to £22m and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were up by 35% to £26.4m. Total income rose by 4% to £258.8m and an interim dividend payment of 2.0p per share was proposed.

Commenting on the results, Countrywide’s Chairman, Bob Davies, said:

“We are pleased to announce encouraging results for the first half of the year, representing a positive start to our return as a listed company. Continuing improvements in the availability of mortgage finance, developing customer sentiment and the impact of Government initiatives should help to stimulate further the level of activity in the UK housing market. In this more encouraging environment, the Board remain confident in the outturn for the year.”

Countrywide’s shares have risen by almost 54% since its spring IPO and currently trade at around 600p on a fairly lofty forward P/E of 29 times earnings.

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> Andy does not own the shares mentioned.