Savills profits dive but London market rebounds

PROPERTY agent Savills has seen profit plummet by almost a quarter and predicted more turbulence in the market this year.

Pre-tax underlying profit in 2009 was £25.2m compared with £33.2m a year earlier, despite a slight improvement in the fourth quarter fuelled by the London residential property market.

Chief executive Jeremy Helsby said: "Notwithstanding the improvement in the second half, market conditions remain unpredictable.

"We have reduced costs significantly across the Group whilst maintaining the operating capacity of our transaction teams around the world to take advantage of improvements in market conditions.

"Against this backdrop we maintain a cautious stance and anticipate that our overall performance in 2010 will be similar to that of 2009, although the relative contributions of our individual businesses may be somewhat different."

Savills said Asia Pacific transactions improved significantly in the third quarter due to strong investor demand in the region.

The company slashed £62m in costs over the year and proposed a dividend of nine pence per share, the same as a year earlier.