Shares in LSL Property Services jumped more than 6% on Friday after the estate agency firm announced that trading profit for 2020 will be “significantly” up on the previous year.
The company’s stock increased 6.3% to 272p following its announcement that full-year group underlying operating profit is expected to be £41.5m, beating 2019 levels.
This profit does not take Covid-related costs into account, and includes money received through the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Group revenue for the year is expected to drop by around 15% to £266m due to the pandemic, the restructuring of its Your Move and Reeds Rains brands and the tenant fee ban introduced in 2019.
But December did see group revenue rise 12% compared to the corresponding month a year earlier, owed in part to a 23% increase in mortgage completions and a 25% hike in surveying revenue.
Meanwhile, residential sales exchange income was in line with expectations, and the pipeline at the end of the year was over 65% above 2019 levels.
“There is currently no evidence of a material increase in residential fall-through trends,” LSL said. “We continue to monitor this closely.”
LSL had net bank debt of about £2m at the end of 2020, down from £41.9m in 2019.
Adjusted for Covid-19 related payment deferrals, mainly in relation to tax payments due as agreed with HMRC, the underlying net bank debt was around £17m.