UK?s second largest agent `outperforming? market
Sat 16 Jan 2016
Shares rose in LSL yesterday after the owners of businesses including Your Move, Reeds Rains, Marsh &Parsons, Davis Tate and Thomas Morris, announced a robust performance last year.
Operating profits for 2015 are expected to be slightly ahead of 2014s.
Overall estate agency income was up 5% year on year, with lettings income up 12%.
The UKs second largest estate agent after Countrywide said it had continued to focus on acquiring lettings books,spending 9.6m on 30.
London agent Marsh & Parsons reported revenue up 9%.
LSL said it remains committed to its strategy of increasing profit per estate agency branch.
Its ambition is to grow operating profit from 46,000 to between 80,000 and 100,000.
It will also continue to expand the number of Marsh & Parsons branches to some 35; maintain its focus ongrowing recurring lettings revenue streams; and evaluate selective acquisitions such as that of Thomas Morrislast year.
LSL said that by the end of 2015 it had debts of 39.9m, and said it was comfortable with the level of gearing.
LSL has a 2.6% stake in Zoopla worth around 23m.
Yesterdays trading update comes ahead of the full year results for 2105, due to be announced on March 3.
Analysts reacted very positively to the trading update.
Numis said: In our view this is a good performance and shows that LSL is outperforming the market.
It added: Given the profit growth in the second half of the year, continued strong cash generation and the factthat we believe market conditions have the potential to improve from the constrained levels in 2015, we believethe shares are currently too cheap.
Numis set a target price for shares at 4.44.
Analysts at Jefferies said that LSL had quietly been getting on with business, and reaffirmed its buy rating.
Jefferies also said that LSL was not a long-term investor in Zoopla, raising prospects of a dividend.
Yesterday, LSL shares finished the day up 10p (4%) at 2.50.