Countrywide investors urged to oust director who missed board meetings

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.

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4 Comments

  1. Hillofwad71

    Let;s face it they should take a sword to the lot of them .
    They could not have done  worse if they had Nick Leeson in charge of petty cash.Writing millions off goodwill  even before the ink had dried  on the cheques buying out businesses with  disappearing turnover with borrowed monies Sanctioned the recruitment of Platt et al to turn the company into Tesco.
    Major U-turn and even sactioned the buyback of shares  when the share price was plummeting Still a huge millstone of debt around therir neck incurred by the BODS despite the money raise last year wiping out the majority of shareholders equity.
    The share price has nosedived a further 30% since then .The exemplar brands and talented individuals under the  CWD banner must be looking for the soonest  opportunity of disassociating  themselves
     
    RNS just in Revenue down from last year !!!!!!

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  2. Sdaltaf101

    It should be illegal for a company to buy back shares, at best its market manipulation at worst its fraud, the only losers are the shareholders. Once a business hits the floor there is nowhere to go other than removing the board and replacing with experienced, motivated talent who will implement change, someone like Russell Quirk who would be controversial but would also be a perfect match. It’s unlikely this would happen because the City needs to rely on their inner circle to gain trust and maintain stability, which has clearly failed so inevitably they will continue fail before they start selling off the jewels to generate revenue so we will be left with the wood.

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    1. Hillofwad71

      You can’t be serious Russell Quirk ?   Controversial LOL At least CWD shareholders have some value left in tradeable shares unlike Emoov investors who left the premises kicking and screaming

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  3. James Wilson

    All that nonsense from London agents in Q1 about the market “turning a corner” and “buyer registrations” up etc.  Reality is that price falls have accelerated and M&P revenue is down -10% yoy.

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