Countrywide considering sale of commercial property business

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 | BUSINESS SALE

The UK’s largest estate agent, Countrywide, is considering a sale of its commercial property business Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) as it battles a slowdown in the property market.

The firm bought LSH, a commercial, office and industrial agency, building surveyors and real estate consultancy, for £34.1 million in 2013.

Last month, Countrywide forecast a drop in transactions driven by stamp duty changes and the result of the EU referendum, warning that full-year profits would come in at the “lower end of market expectations”.

The firm reported group third-quarter revenue of £188.5 million compared with £197.1 million on the same period last year.

“A combination of changes in stamp duty and the EU referendum in June means transaction levels are currently running significantly below 2015,” Countrywide said at the time.

Estates Gazette reported that Countrywide is focusing on its core business and expects a sale of LSH to help it get through a difficult trading period.

The agent is understood to want to close a deal as soon as next month, and hopes to sell to private equity, not a competitor.

In a statement, Countrywide said: “Countrywide notes today's press speculation and confirms that it is undergoing a strategic review in relation to its Lambert Smith Hampton business.

“As part of that review, Countrywide is considering a potential disposal of LSH. The process is ongoing and there can be no certainty that any transaction will proceed. Further announcements will be made as appropriate.”

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