Countrywide announced this morning that its revenues were down in the first quarter of this year.
In a trading update for the three months to March 31, it said total group income was £140.3m, down from £144.6m in the same period last year.
In contrast a trading statement from LSL covering the same period announced that its group revenue went up 5.7%.
LSL announced revenue of £77.1m, up from £72.9m in the same period last year. However, the gains were made by its financial services and surveying arms, with the estate agency business suffering an 8.5% fall in revenue, down from £42.8m to £39.2m.
Your Move and Reeds Rains, where there were branch closures and redundancies earlier this year, were down 9.3% in revenue. At LSL’s flagship London business Marsh & Parsons, revenues were down 10%.
Both LSL and Countrywide issued their trading statements ahead of AGMs today.
Countrywide had previously reported that adjusted EBITDA for the first half of this year would be down by £3m to £5m. It is now expecting the drop to be £5m on last year’s first half.
However, it is expecting full year EBITDA to be broadly in line with the board’s expectations.
In today’s statement Countrywide blamed ongoing uncertainties surrounding Brexit, which it said were weighing on the property markets particularly in London and the south.
However Countrywide said that “the series of self-help measures that we have put in place to re-align the cost base to the lower level of market activity continue to be implemented and we expect the benefits of these actions to come through during the second half”.
Meanwhile shareholders in Countrywide will this morning be urged to oust one of its directors.
Countrywide’s AGM is today, and comes as there is criticism that non-executive director Caleb Kramer missed board meetings last year, including three held at short notice.
Altogether Kramer missed only four out of 14 meetings but investor advisory group Glass Lewis said that this amounted to “a failure to fulfill a fundamental responsibility to represent shareholders at such meetings”.
Glass Lewis urged its members to vote against Kramer’s re-election today.
Kramer heads up the European arm of private equity firm Oaktree Capital, which is Countrywide’s largest shareholder with an 18% stake.
A spokesperson said that Kramer tried to attend all scheduled meetings of the Countrywide board, and had missed only one.
However, said the spokesperson: “During the refinancing period, a number of unscheduled meetings were called at short notice, three of which Mr Kramer was unable to attend due to prior commitments.”
Countrywide made a £253m loss on revenues of £619m last year, although it said “significant progress” was made on its turnaround plan.
Today’s shareholders may want further information on that progress, including a suggestion in the 2018 results that it may make further cuts to branch numbers.
Yesterday, shares in Countrywide closed at around 7p after falling about 2.5%.
The market capitalisation is under £120m, compared with £1.5bn five years ago.