Property giant announces shares sale

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A Milton Keynes based residential estate agency and property services giant has announced a circa £200million float on the Stock Market.

Countrywide, based in Caldecotte Lake Drive, Caldecotte, intends to use money raised from the share sale to repay certain outstanding borrowings and re-shape its finances to go for growth and make “selective acquisitions”.

Cranfield Business School MBA graduate Grenville Turner, the company’s group chief executive, said: “Over the past six years we have transformed Countrywide into the UK’s largest integrated property services group.

“We have worked hard to secure significant growth opportunities via acquisitions and by opening new high street branches. We have built market leading positions in each of our core businesses.”

Countrywide offers estate agency and lettings services, together with a range of complementary services across the various stages of a typical residential property sale or rental.

The company anticipates the share sale will see it included in the FTSE 250 biggest publicly listed companies in the country.

The move marks a return to the stock market for Countrywide which was listed from 1986 to 2007. In May 2007, the group was taken into private ownership.

The group operates 931 estate agency branches across the country through a variety of brands, including Hamptons International, John D Wood & Co, Sotheby’s International Realty, Mann & Co, GascoignePees, Bairstow Eves, Dixons, Bridgfords, Taylors and Slater Hogg & Howison. Together they sold approximately 1 in 11 of all homes sold in the UK between January 2009 and September 2012.

The group’s lettings division includes lettings-only brands such as Accord Lettings, Ashton Burkinshaw and Andrew Reeves.