Brexit and Hong Kong turmoil cut into Savills profits

Pre-tax profits at property agent Savills dropped 7 per cent in the first half from a year earlier as political turmoil cut into transaction volumes in the UK and Hong Kong. 

Pre-tax profit came in at to £24.7m for the six months to June, while underlying profits from the group’s transaction advisory business halved to £9.9m, which the group said reflected “a decline in capital markets activity in some of our key commercial markets and the impact of investment in key teams”. 

Mark Ridley, chief executive, said: “In many markets, particularly the UK and Hong Kong, political and economic uncertainty has considerably reduced the volume of real estate trading activity in recent months, although occupier demand remains robust.” 

Overall group revenue rose 16 per cent to £847m, however, as the company said its investment and facilities management arms performed strongly. 

The company, which handles commercial and residential property around the world, increased its interim dividend by 3 per cent to 4.95p a share and said full-year performance should be in line with expectations. 

However, Mr Ridley added: “Underlying demand for the secure income qualities of real estate remains high, but these macro uncertainties weigh on investor sentiment and make predictions in respect of near term market activity difficult to determine with accuracy.”

The UK property market has slowed in anticipation of a potential no-deal Brexit, while Hong Kong has been rocked by weeks of mass political protests. 


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