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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Countrywide: share price sinks, closure and sell-off rumours swirl

Rumours continue to circulate about possible large-scale branch closures at Countrywide; its share price ended trading today at its lowest ever level.

During the day Estate Agent Today was made aware of imminent or actual branch closures amongst the Stratton Creber, King & Chasemore and Taylors brands. These operate in different parts of the far south west, west of England and Home Counties.

This was put to Countrywide with this response from the company this evening: “Our brands, branch network and the colleagues who work within them remain at the heart of our customer offering and we can confirm that we are not closing all of our King & Chasemore branches. As a responsible business we must constantly assess our branch footprint, the customers they serve and their profitability. Based on that insight, there will be times when we make the difficult decision to close a branch. Wherever possible, we will seek to redeploy the teams and deliver for our customers from an alternative Countrywide branch.” 

Another report circulating during this afternoon was that Oakwood Capital, which owns just under a fifth of the company, was meeting with senior Countrywide management.

A Countrywide spokeswoman told EAT that the company never commented on market speculation of this kind. 

Meanwhile the troubled agency group’s share price ended trading today at its lowest ever level - just 4.51p. 

This was after a fall of over 8.8 per cent; this means that even since the Back To Basics strategy was unveiled some 15 months ago, the company has lost around 95 per cent of its value.

Just under 10 months ago the group raised £140m in an emergency cash call from investors to pay off debts; this spring it announced that it had made a pre-tax loss of £251m for the year to the end of last December, on revenues of £619m.

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