Countrywide has told shareholders that the business will be the author of its own success, and it is now ready to start the next chapter – with an inference to be drawn that the overall number of branches is under review.
Its newly published annual report covers last year, when its refinancing plan in August resulted in Countrywide raising £125m, after deduction of fees and expenses.
Executive chairman Peter Long said the company had had no alternative and he thanked shareholders for showing confidence in the group’s strategy and turnaround plan.
The annual report presents the turnaround strategy for this year and until 2021.
In the next three years, ambitious goals include growing income from complementary services to more than 55% for every £ of estate agency revenues, up from the current 44p.
Countrywide also plans to transform its “aged” IT, and deliver cost reductions of between 5% and 10% across its businesses.
There is also a hint that more branches could close. The report says that from this year to 2021, there will on average be more than 600 branches.
The report contains a number of references to loss-making branches and the impairment costs of leases.
At the end of last year, Countrywide had 714 branches plus 143 in London, totalling 857, down from the 1,200 it had before embarking on its closure programme.
The annual report also includes a section on directors’ remuneration.
It says there will be no increase this year in the pay of its executive chairman, managing director or chief financial officer.
Last year, Peter Long earned £360,000.
The annual report gives the base salary last year of chief financial officer Himanshu Raja as £410,000, up from £229,000, with a pension contribution increase from £34,000 to £62,000.
The report gives the base salary of managing director Paul Creffield as £450,000.
Former CEO Alison Platt, who resigned on January 24, 2018, received £56,000 last year, compared with £676,000 the year before. The report says that she served notice with the company until January 23 this year.
Yesterday, Countrywide’s share price closed at 8.5p.