DTZ slashes payout after dismal year

TROUBLED commercial property agent DTZ yesterday announced it was axing its dividend after the economic turmoil sent it plunging into the red.<br /><br />The London-based group reported a &pound;36.1m pre-tax loss for the full year to 30 April compared with a &pound;20.1m profit the year before. The slump in commercial property values and transactions meant the group&rsquo;s revenues fell 18 per cent to &pound;364.1m.<br /><br />The news forced the group to axe the dividend from 6.5p a share paid last year. Since the property market collapsed DTZ has embarked on a radical rescue plan, including appointing former Barclays chief operating officer Paul Idzik as chief executive.<br /><br />Under Idzik the group has slashed costs, cutting its workforce by 1,504 to 5,575. In the UK, headcount has fallen from 2,170 to 1,800, with many job losses in London.<br /><br />In January, DTZ raised &pound;48.7m from shareholders, backed by its largest shareholder SGP, to shore up its battered balance sheet. At the launch of the fundraising in December, the group warned it faced administration if it could not raise funds.<br /><br />Yesterday Idzik said: &ldquo;We&rsquo;re not proud to publish numbers in the red and don&rsquo;t want to do that ever again. We&rsquo;re cutting the cloth of the sails to reflect this.&rdquo; <br /><br />Chairman Tim Melville-Ross yesterday spoke of a &ldquo;new&rdquo; DTZ. He added: &ldquo;The resulting transformation and re-focusing of DTZ is proceeding so that the core capabilities of the firm are being enhanced for the benefit of all our key stakeholders.&rdquo;