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Agents' Mutual revenue static but company claims "good progress"

The accounts for Agents’ Mutual, parent company of the OnTheMarket portal, show that revenue for the year ending January 31 was £17.831m - almost exactly the same as the previous year’s figure of £17.851m.

The directors’ report accompanying the accounts says revenue is “the key performance indicator, monitored on a monthly basis and used to track financial performance.”

In the report, signed off last week, the company’s summary of its principal work in the year to the end of January 2017 includes reference to its portal activities and the litigation against Gascoigne Halman for breach of contract - the Competitions Appeals Tribunal case over the one other portal rule settled in favour of Agents’ Mutual earlier this month.

“During the year significant legal costs have been incurred, which have been largely offset by a reduction in discretionary marketing spend” says the report, which was sent to members and passed by one to Estate Agent Today.

It goes on to say that Agents’ Mutual has improved its performance in the year in question, with an operating loss of £1.182m (in the previous year it was £1.729m). Pre-tax loss was £2.533m in the year to January 2017. Once tax payments are taken into account, losses for the most recent year add up to £4.019m against the previous year’s figure of £2.306m.

“Good progress has been made in challenging market conditions and despite the costs and management distraction associated with the litigation ... with strong agent member support and substantial growth in consumer traffic to the portal” the report continues.

It also reveals that the firm had an average monthly 42 marketing and sales staff plus 22 IT staff - both slightly up on the previous year - while directors‘ emoluments for the latest year ran to £99,000; they had been zero in in the previous year.

In recent weeks the portal sector leaders have reported their half-year figures to shareholders. 

Rightmove reported revenue up 11 per cent to £119.5m with underlying operating profit also up 11 per cent to £91.0m and operating profit up nine per cent to £87.6m. 

ZPG - which two months ago said over 800 agency branches had quit OnTheMarket to rejoin Zoopla since 2015 - reported revenue rising to £117.9m across its portal and other consumer-focussed activities.

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