Savills has reinstated its dividend this morning as it reported that its UK residential agency division performed strongly last year, despite an overall drop in profit.
The estate agent chain, which last year suspended its dividend due to the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, said shareholders will pocket a 17p per share payout.
Profit after tax dropped from £83.6m in 2019 to £68m last year.
Revenue for the year fell nine per cent from £1.9bn to £1.7bn due “significantly reduced leasing and capital transaction volumes” across all major real estate markets.
The drop was driven by reductions in Savills’ transaction advisory unit, which was partially mitigated by share gains in major markets and a resilient performance in its agency division.
Savills’ UK residential transaction business saw an “extraordinary recovery” after the first lockdown, with revenue increasing 10 per cent to £153.2m.
“We remain confident in the long term attraction of real estate as an asset class and although macro-economic uncertainty resulting from COVID-19 clearly remains, we see enhanced investor demand for income and improvements in leasing activity as occupiers increasingly seek to address their requirements,” Mark Ridley, Savills chief executive, said.
“Savills has a strong balance sheet and we remain focused on growing our less transactional businesses, increasing our share of the global transactional markets and enhancing the resilience of the business overall. We have made a good start to 2021 and see opportunities for business development emerging during the course of the year.”