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Countrywide Dumps £20 Million Bonus Package for Top Execs

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The United Kingdom’s largest estate agency group, Countrywide, has cancelled its new bonus package.

Investor outcry halted plans for the new £20 million executive bonus package in its tracks.

Enraged Investors

The largest estate agency group in the U.K., Countrywide, has now cancelled its previous plans to create a new bonus package for its top executives. Outcry from investors opposed to the package placed a dead halt on the company’s intentions to move forward with it.

The bonus package would have paid three top executives a total of £20 million, depending on the share price performance of the firm throughout the upcoming three years. That said, investors were enraged by the move following the recent announcements regarding the firm’s struggles in a weak housing market.

Plummeting Share Prices

Countrywide’s share prices nosedived earlier this month when the firm announced its need to raise funds within the current weak housing market. Auditors had been issuing cautions that the company was facing an uphill battle just to continue to stay in business.

There are 50 brands that comprise Countrywide, including Hamptons International, Bairstow Eves, Mann and John D Wood. The group is in the midst of trying to raise £140 million from shareholders.

Didn’t Make it to the Vote

The now defunct executive bonus package plan was slated for a vote at a shareholders’ meeting closer to the end of August. However, it rapidly became more than clear to Countrywide that the issue wouldn’t require a vote and that the vast majority of its investors were opposed to the plan.

Countrywide is one of many estate agent businesses suffering pains from the current housing market. As turnover eases off, particularly in certain key areas such as London, many estate agent companies are suffering from the trend.

Housing Market Challenges

Foxtons, an agency focused primarily on the London housing market has announced it predicts “trading conditions to remain challenging during 2018.” Sales are expected to be lower than they were in 2017 and London is among the areas hit the hardest.

Countrywide shares had been at 52p at the beginning of 2018, but have been steadily falling since that time. At the start of the week, shares were down by another 3 percent, at 14.1p, which valued the company at under £33 million.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Alvexo on the matter.