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Gloucestershire Business News

Estate agent shares plummet

Shares in Countrywide, the UK's largest estate agent group, have fallen nearly 30 per cent, after it issued its second profit warning this year.

Countrywide, whose brands including Bairstow Eves and R A Bennett, which has branches across Gloucestershire, said it expected first-half earnings to be about £20m lower than last year, as reported by the BBC.

The company said conditions in the housing market were subdued and deals were taking longer to complete. It has been hit by a slowdown in the housing market, as well as the rise of online agents such as Purplebricks.

Countrywide said it was looking to raise additional equity finance, with the aim of cutting debt by 50 per cent.

Its share price fell 28% to 56.5p.

In March, shares fell  after Countywide announced that pre-tax profits for 2017 had more than halved to £25.2m, from £52.7m in 2016.

Countrywide employs about 8,000 people nationwide.

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