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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Countrywide to put its commercial property arm up for sale

Lambert Smith Hampton, the commercial arm of Countrywide, is to be put up for sale.

LSH is one of Britain's oldest and most respected commercial properties names, founded in 1773 but only a part of Countrywide since 2013.

Commercial property publication Estates Gazette, which broke the news this afternoon, says LSH is being sold through Deloitte.

Last month we reported that 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. 

It also warned that worse was on its way for 2017.

EG says it is understood that Countrywide wants to strike a quick deal over LSH next month, with the most likely outcome a sale to private equity rather than to a competitor.

“LSH set out on an aggressive expansion plan when it was bought by Countrywide and has since bought six businesses, including Tushingham Moore, BTWShiells, ES Group and Douglas Newman” says Estates Gazette.

Earlier this month Countrywide was dropped from the FTSE-250.

Here is the full story on Estates Gazette.

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    Selling off the family silver!!
    Good idea o think for Mrs Platt before the guys that do the biz at LSH leave and take the clientele with them anyway!!!
    Amateur hour continues! Where's that last life boat???

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    More mistakes by Ms Platt showing her up as someone who acts first and thinks later!!! Sooner or later countrywide will sell off everything including the kitchen sink

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    the office i'm in the kitchen sink went along time ago along with everything else, staff morale at an all time low just when will this end......when countrywide is no longer.

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    I think Ms Platt has had a bad experience in the past with CW and decided to decimate the company from the inside. I feel sorry for the staff :(

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    certainly got some vendetta against CW and their loyal staff, Merry Christmas....NOT!!!!!

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    Curious move. Several scenarios spring to mind.
    The commercial chaps, where the client moves with the person they deal with, have signalled that unless they are allowed to detach from Countrywide then they'll go anyway and there'll be nothing to sell?
    Or;
    Debt servicing and repayment is unsustainable at current and forecast levels hence need cash to reduce debt?
    Or;
    Commercial property isn't suitable to being changed into a 'retail' business?

    What do you think?

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    Too many grown-ups in the LSH business who are able to challenge the decisions of the Senior Management and harder to remove as it is too expensive to buy out their contracts. Hope the new owner gets it at a knockdown price and realises the huge opportunity it presents.

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    So the £101.6m of income (2015 number) from the commercial arm goes and won't be there in 2017. 1400 employees similarly. Doubling the size of the business by 2020 was the plan I seem to recall. I'm looking forward to the 'spin' put on this!

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