* H1 EBITDA up 31 pct
* Shares up almost 5 pct
* Saw positive signs in August
(Adds CEO comments)
Sept 14 British lettings agent MartinCo
saw some recovery in the market in August after weakness in June
and July prompted it to cut jobs, its chief executive said on
Britain's fourth-largest lettings and estate agency company
saw lettings and sales transactions across its business fall in
June and July due to concerns regarding Britain's vote to leave
the European Union, CEO Ian Wilson said.
Cost cuts including the loss of six staff positions would
lead to annual cost savings of 350,000 to 400,000 pounds, Wilson
"We didn't know that June and July would turn into a good
August... so it seemed sensible to us, as a management, to avoid
any unnecessary costs in our cost base for the remainder of the
year," Wilson told Reuters.
The UK property market was one of the first sectors hit by
uncertainty after Britons voted on June 23 to leave the EU, at
one point forcing more than 18 billion pounds ($24 billion)
worth of commercial property funds to be frozen.
Transaction levels in prime central London had already
started to fall in the run-up to the referendum, thanks partly
to April hike in Britain's stamp duty tax on second homes and
MartinCo said there were signs of a recovery in lettings
transactions in August, after a short-lived downturn in the wake
Housing sales levels had recovered some ground in August,
albeit the recovery did not match that seen in lettings, Wilson
Real estate agents and property websites such as Countrywide
, Foxtons and Rightmove have raised
concerns over the state of the residential sales market.
However, in recent weeks, several builders have said sales
have risen and data has suggested that prices are climbing
again, adding to signs that the housing sector is recovering.
Wilson said house sales across southern England in August
had been in line with or slightly below the previous year's
The Midlands and the north of England performed better than
the company expected, Wilson added.
"It's a mixed picture, but across the board, sales and
lettings, North and South, August was a much better month than
June and July," Wilson said.
MartinCo on Wednesday reported a 31 percent rise in core
earnings (EBITDA) to 1.7 million pounds for the six months to
June 30, helped by strong revenue growth.
Its shares rose as much as 9 percent to their highest this
year, before paring gains to trade up 4.6 percent at 167 pence
at 1207 GMT.
($1 = 0.7584 pounds)
(Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely)