Savills staff to get £60m bonus payout

PROPERTY agent Savills is planning a payment of around £60m for staff after a recovery in the UK residential housing market.

Savills’ estate agency arm doubled its profit to £6.3m in 2009 with the London market in particular bouncing back.

However, pre-tax profit plummeted by almost a quarter across all the company’s operations, including its financial services arm, to £25.2m.

The company’s 20,000 staff will benefit from the £60m bonus pot which will be shared out on a division by division basis.

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

“We have reduced costs significantly across the group while 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.”

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 full-year dividend of 9p per share, the same as a year earlier.

The company’s sale transaction profits in the UK rocketed by 320 per cent as the market picked up from the second quarter onwards.

A cost-cutting programme also helped the firm’s performance.

Savills, which specialises in selling high-end properties in the capital and home counties, employs around 3,000 people in the UK.

The company said a lack of housing stock had helped fuel the improved profits in its housing transactions. Savills added: “It remains to be seen how the market will perform in 2010 with significant personal tax rises and a general election in prospect during the spring selling season.”