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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Countrywide delays meeting to confirm sale of Lambert Smith Hampton

Countrywide has this morning revealed that its special general meeting of shareholders to agree the sale of its commercial arm will now not be held as scheduled on December 23.

A statement to the City at 7am said that “for logistical reasons” the meeting would now be held between Christmas and New Year, on December 27. 

The delay is thought to have been agreed to ensure proxy votes by shareholders are not delayed in the Christmas post. 

The troubled estate agency group says this delay should not hold up the timetable for the confirmed sale of Lambert Smith Hampton which should still be completed by the end of the calendar year - providing shareholders give the go-ahead.

At the end of last week Countrywide surprised the industry by describing LSH as "non-core” and saying it would be sold privately for £38m. 

The cash from the sale would “significantly improve Countrywide's capital structure following receipt of gross cash proceeds of £38 million and allow the Countrywide Group to materially reduce its net debt.”

In addition to the sale agreement of Lambert Smith Hampton and a share consolidation process, Countrywide revealed that it had agreed an amended credit facility with its lenders.  

  • Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies

    I fear Christmas is not going to be festive season for the Countrywide Turkey, Why?

    Well, call me a party pooper, but last August Countrywide raised £125M, to keep afloat, and the Group Managing Director Paul Creffield stated in his company report in March 2019, 'Significant progress was made in 2018 as we reset the strategy and delivered a capital refinancing plan that gives us the stability and flexibility to execute our three-year turnaround plan' and now they are selling off assets to the tune of £38M.

    So that is £163M, in 16 months, does this mean a cash burn of £10m a month. If so, the famous 3 year turnaround, which is due to end in 2021, may mean that an awful lot more of Countrywide is pawned. Hamptons? John D Wood?

    And before anyone says unthinkable, the only thing that is unthinkable is that this great business has been allowed to go full steam ahead into the night without someone at the helm, looking at the horizon, like a certain ship which unfortunately foundered not quite 400 miles from Newfoundland.

    Get those lifebelts on and strike up the band, because it might be the company's last hoorah in its present form.

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