MartinCo bucks General Election uncertainty with 50 per cent surge in half-year profits

Kasmira Jefford
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SHARES in MartinCo rallied yesterday after the residential lettings and estate agency posted a 48 per cent jump in half-year sales, boosted by its acquisition of Xperience.

The Aim-listed firm, which manages 44,000 properties across 284 offices, has been focused on growing its estate agency business after previously being focussed on lettings.

In 2013, MartinCo bought Xperience, Legal & General’s estate agency franchising arm, which added 89 offices to its portfolio. It now has 164 Martin & Co branded estate agencies.

The company bucked the slowdown experienced by its peers in the run-up to the General Election and increased the number of properties listed for sale at 3,079 homes compared to 2,161 in the first half of last year.

Its pipeline of sales agreed for Xperience rose to £4.9m in the six months to 30 June while at Martin & Co branches, sales agreed stood at £1.7m compared with £820,000 last year.

Total revenue across both its estate agency and lettings business increased by 48 per cent to £3.4m while pre-tax profits jumped by 44.6 per cent to £1.15m.

Shares closed up 4.9 per cent at 168.50p last night, as the group declared an interim dividend of 1.8p per share, up 38 per cent.

Meanwhile rival franchise lettings agency Belvoir also saw shares edge higher yesterday, despite blaming the uncertainty in the run-up to the election for a slowdown in the number of new franchisees that it was able to recruit.

As a result, there was no change in the number of Belvoir outlets, which stayed at 166 for the first six months of the year.

The Aim-listed company, which floated on the stock market just months before MartinCo in 2013, reported strong growth in management service fees of 14 per cent to £1.7m.