Senior management at Countrywide came in for a pasting on Twitter yesterday as TV market commentator and buying agent Henry Pryor loaded both barrels and took aim at the people running Britain’s largest traditional estate agency.
In one social media message he tweeted the high-end brands owned by Countrywide - that is, Hamptons International and John D Wood - and said, above a screenshot of the company’s plummeting share price: “This is what incompetent management can do to the once-great Countrywide UK business.”
In another tweet Pryor said: “Hapless Countrywide looks to tap up investors to bail out a business that has been driven into the ground by incompetent management. They should only pay up if the board takes the blame and resign.”
Countrywide says it has no comment to make on Pryor’s social media attacks.
Meanwhile the share price of Countrywide, went into freefall yesterday and dropped by over 25 per cent early on, with smaller losses adding to the picture over the day.
It eventually closed down 22 points to 56.5p, a plunge of 28.03 per cent.
Countrywide has now lost 54 per cent of its value so far this year and more than 90 per cent since its peak in 2014.
The collapse in the share price yesterday came after an unexpected trading statement by Countrywide which revealed it had lowered its half-year adjusted core earnings forecast, blaming a “subdued” property market.
The statement also said the group was focussed on rebuilding its sales pipeline, which was significantly below 2017 levels, and expected to close the pipeline gap by Christmas.
Countrywide, whose largest shareholder is the private equity house Oaktree, said it would seek to cut its debt levels by at least half by raising extra capital.
Former chief executive Alison Platt left in January after a previous profit warning. Chairman Peter Long stepped up to be executive chairman following her departure.