Battling Countrywide could make £100m cash call within days as it seeks lifeline

Countrywide could go cap in hand to investors as soon as this Thursday in a bid to raise £100m.

The Sunday Telegraph yesterday said that bankers were this week finalising the details of the scheme, which EYE flagged up on June 26.

The paper said that Jefferies has been appointed to oversee the fundraising, while investment bank Rothschild will “handle a potential restructuring if the cash call falls flat”.

Countrywide’s plan for a £100m emergency fund-raise was announced last month, when it issued a profits warning, saying that its EBITDA earnings for the first half of this year would be down by £20m on the same period last year, and that it will not be able to recoup the loss in the second half of 2018.

Countrywide is due to announce its first-half results on Thursday, when it now seems likely not just to release details of its fund-raise but to press the button on the placing or rights issue – although the Telegraph does say the timetable could change.

According to the Telegraph, the decision to seek a lifeline from shareholders comes because plans to raise a bond to replace a revolving credit facility with its current lenders proved unsuccessful.

The £100m cash injection is needed to cut Countrywide’s £200m debt.

Countrywide shares, once at a high of 704p, closed on Friday at 51p.

Meanwhile Countrywide’s executive chairman Peter Long is embattled with another crisis – at Royal Mail, where he is also chairman.

Here, 70% of shareholders have rejected its remuneration report – the retiring chief executive is set to receive a payout of £900,000, while the new chief executive will have a basic salary of £640,000, more than that of his predecessor. The company will now have to produce a new pay report.

In addition, just over a third of Royal Mail investors (34.4%) objected to the re-election of Long himself.

This was  after Institutional Shareholder Services questioned his ability to devote enough time to Royal Mail, given his other commitments. However, Long  stepped down from another chairmanship last week.

How EYE last month reported Countrywide’s decision to try and raise £100m:

Countrywide in crisis as it seeks emergency fund-raise of £100m to get banks off its back

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6 Comments

  1. PaulC

    I can only see this going one way, the break up of group has the be the logical way forward.

    Some serious decisions need to be taken and quickly, however making those tough decisions will require a heavy burden on cash.

    A resource it would appear they are struggling to muster.

    With Brexit uncertainty ahead of us and a complex 7 months combined with Winter, I think we will see little appetite to throw a 100mln at the problem.

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  2. AgentQ73

    Intrigued as to no mention of replacement for Ms Platt or even a search for one? Makes you wonder if its because a break up is on the cards.

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  3. GPL

    I’ll say this…

    I don’t care if it’s Ms Platt, Mrs Platt, Lady or Dame Platt, both she and the Board of Directors should be held professionally and legally responsible for the demise of Countrywide as they all Captained this Ship onto the rocks.

    It simply cannot be right that these individuals, singularly & collectively walk away from this leaving Countrywide and its employees on its/their knees.

    On the £100 Million injection! …..sadly, why would one risk another £1. I say “sadly” whilst referring to the good employees who have had no control over the clowns in charge of their future/fate.

    The Countrywide brand seems toxic in one sense however breaking it up will give real prospects for the good employees who deserve to have real control over their future rather than being led by the Corporate Clowns!

     

     

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  4. hodge

    I was part of Countrywide when it made over 100million profit.  As an FSD of the time you could see the changes ringing in when Gerry and Harry let go.  New Incumbents simply started to get rid of the very people who made that profit. And the reason …Simply they did not suck up to him. The whole of the southern region MDs and FSDs were made redundant and replaced with someone who sucked up.

    Alison Platt may well have made mistakes and i hear she did, but she was left with little experience in her make do management as the rest had been made redundant.   Some of the current management team however well meaning are simply not up to the job.

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  5. Number1EA82

    Hodge you know so much! Please share who is not up to it. Rather than all the criticisms.You don’t mind advertising jobs for Countrywide but slag them off as you was got rid of for  being a terrible dinosaur estate agent. Stop being a old fool and grow up.

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    1. hodge

      Thank you for your well written contribution to Property Eye.   Please ask one of your colleagues to check your property details before you send them for approval.

      Good estate agents are hard to find. Good estate agents who become good managers are even harder.

      Countrywide have a least a 50% turnover of staff and many of those who are new will have only ever worked and operated under Platt and the systems and processes she instilled.  So saying many of the staff are not up to it is a statement of the obvious unless of course estate agents are not talented and you can get them anywhere.

      Not sure about the advertising bit as I’m retired and loving it.

      i would say though that you hardly embody the wisdom of a winner by your comments and lack of thought process.

      Must try harder 4/10

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