Countrywide’s share price closed slightly down again yesterday to finish trading at 176.0 after news emerged that the group was selling its commercial arm, Lambert Smith Hampton.
Today is the last day of trading for Countrywide in the FTSE-250 which consists of the 101st to 350th largest companies trading on the London Stock Exchange. From next week it will trade as part of an index of smaller companies.
As we reported yesterday afternoon, property magazine Estates Gazette has now revealed that LSH - founded in 1773 but only a part of Countrywide since 2013 - would be sold in the new year with the transaction to be handled by Deloitte.
The sale will allow Countrywide to refocus purely on its residential business and to realise funds during a challenging trading period. In the summer around 60 residential offices were earmarked for closure; more closures are believed to have been announced to staff in recent weeks although Countrywide says it is not commenting while consultations continue.
Last month Countrywide told shareholders that it suffered a 29 per cent slump in London exchanges in the third quarter of the year compared to the same period of 2015, with a one per cent dip in exchanges across the rest of the country. It blamed high stamp duty and Brexit uncertainty.
“The slowdown in activity across the market in Q3 is clearly evident in the closing pipe-lines for our [out of London] Retail and London businesses, which at the end of September were down 16 per cent and 26 per cent respectively compared to a year earlier” said Countrywide at the time.
Countrywide’s share price - which earlier this month dipped into the 160’s - hit a high of 686.0 in spring 2014.