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September 2009

Savills' profit slashed

By MIKE GOODMAN,
City Correspondent

SAVILLS, the international property consultants and upmarket UK residential estate agency suffered a crash in pre-tax profits to £100,000 for the first half of this year, compared with £33.8 million for the same period of 2008.

The announcement, on August 27, reversed the upward trend in the share price which had earlier breached the 350p barrier.

Jeremy Helsby, chief executive, warned it was too early to say when the commercial and residential markets would recover, but prime residential property in Central London had seen improvement during the second quarter of this year.

UK residential fee income had fallen 29 per cent to £27.3 million, with a “very poor” first quarter, followed by an improvement, largely due to more activity in the Central London market.

Total revenues fell 11 per cent to £278 million, underlying Earnings Per Share fell from 10p to 1.3p, but there will still be a first half dividend for shareholders, of 3p, compared with 6p for 2008. Net debt was cut from £5.8 million to only £0.4 million, a sign the group’s balance sheet is strong.