Has Countrywide finally convinced its investors that it is on the road to recovery?
Back on March 8 the Countrywide share price fell to a low of 70.5p; since that time it has added 50 per cent to its value, closing yesterday at 107.20p.
It remains a shadow of its former self, of course - just over four years ago it hit a high of 686.4p, which is over six times its current value - but the performance in recent weeks returns the troubled group to the share price enjoyed before its February profit warning.
There has been considerable short term volatility amongst property sector shares in recent times but Countrywide’s broadly consistent rise in the past four weeks contrasts sharply with the performances of Purplebricks (down from 385p on March 9 to around 304p at yesterday’s close), and OnTheMarket (154p to 108p over a similar period).
Recent announcements from Countrywide have been strongly positive in contrast to those across much of the Alison Platt era.
In mid-March the leaders of the group’s management team - executive chairman Peter Long, chief financial officer Himanshu Raja, and group operations director Paul Creffield - bought significant numbers of shares to show their commitment to the firm.
Ten days later the publication of the group’s annual report set out both the errors of the past management approach and the new ‘back to basics’ strategy led by Peter Long.
The group has also reported two significant ‘returnees’ - individuals who left during the Platt era reorganisations but who have now come back. They are John Hards, who has been appointed as national lettings director, and Keith Knight rejoined as managing director of sales and lettings in the south east - the role he held when he was at the company before.