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LSL Property Services PLC rebounds as housing market activity picks back up


By the end of May the group had 207 out of its 231 estate agency branches open, with house video tours becoming a popular new tool

LSL Property Services PLC () shares rallied hard on Friday as it revealed that it had still made an underlying profit under lockdown despite revenue more than halving. 

The estate and letting agency, surveying and financial services group said it made an underlying operating profit in April of £1.6mln, down 45% on last year, as sales fell 56% due to lower levels of residential sales and surveying. 

The group took a £1.2mln exceptional cost hit related to the COVID-19 situation.

Since lockdown on 23 March, residential sales income has been down 63%, new lettings and renewals reduced by 24%, mortgage applications fell 25%, surveys fell 80%, but protection and insurance were both said to be resilient. 

This followed a first quarter where operating profit jumped 62% year-on-year to £3.4mln.

With net debt of £42mln at the end of March, the board has arranged a revolving credit facility of £100mln.

Having put 73% of staff are on the government furlough scheme, by the end of May the group had 207 out of its 231 estate agency branches open with 41% of furloughed staff back at work.

It has seen high demand for physical valuations to clear the lockdown backlog, though only at 60% of pre-lockdown levels, while video tours have become a popular alternative.

Shares in the company jumped 23% on Friday morning to 232.03p, though are still down 14% since the start of the year.



Read More: LSL Property Services PLC rebounds as housing market activity picks back up

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