Uncertainty surrounding Britain leaving the European Union hurt sales from the UK residential business at one of the nation’s largest luxury estate agents, Savills.
Savills said in its full year financial results for 2016 that revenues in its UK residential business fell by 3% to £124 million ($US154.8 million) because trading volumes were low before and after Britain voted for Brexit on June 23.
However, it did say that political uncertainty from Brexit as well as the US elections failed to halt sales growth overall at the group, due to its diversification in business lines.
It said that “despite the geopolitical distractions,” revenues rose by 13% to £1.4 billion. Underlying profit increased by 12% to £136 million, once costs related to acquisitions were stripped out.
The property group added that it plans to boost dividends for the full year of 2016 by 12%, to 29 pence per share.
Jeremy Helsby, Group CEO, said in a statement (emphasis ours):
“Overall, Savills delivered another record performance in 2016 despite the geopolitical distractions in some of our markets. We benefited from the scale of our operations across the globe, which have grown substantially over recent years, as well as a highly resilient performance in the UK.
“We entered 2017 with a continuation of global macro-economic concerns, rising bond yields, uncertainty over the impact of Brexit negotiations in the UK and Continental Europe and a new administration in the US.
Savills is a strong and diverse global firm and we continue to look at opportunities to develop our business. We have started the year well and our expectations for the full year remain unchanged.”
Article 50, the formal notification of Britain’s intention to leave the EU, will be triggered on March 29, a Downing Street spokesperson confirmed on Monday. The notification will take the form of a letter addressed to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council. Once Article 50 is triggered, Britain can finally start formally negotiating its exit terms with the European Union.
The group said it has a “more cautious view” of the market in Britain now that it is clear the UK is going for a Brexit, but its expectations for 2017 financially remain unchanged.
The Savills stock price is trading flat at 877.00 pence per share.
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