Savills sees revenue drop by 9% in 2020



Savills plc, the international real estate advisor, has announced its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2020, revealing a 9% drop in group revenue to £1.74 billion.

Nick Penny

The firm said resilient revenues from less transactional services significantly mitigated a reduction in transaction volumes.

Savills’ underlying profit before tax was down to £96.6 million from £143.4m in 2019, while its statutory profit before tax stood at £83.2m compared to £115.6m the year before.

The firm has declared a final ordinary dividend of 17.0p reflecting the resilience of the less transactional business performance.

Despite the decline in profits, Savills said its “resilient performance” reflects geographic diversity (59% non-UK revenue) and the strength of less transactional service lines (62% of group revenue, versus 57% in 2019).

Savills global Transaction Advisory revenues also declined by 19% as the pandemic significantly reduced the volume of transactions worldwide. UK and Asia Pacific profits were also down 4% and 1% respectively.

However, Savills UK Residential grew revenues by 10% as the market recovered strongly from the middle of the year.

Savills Investment Management outperformed expectations (against a record 2019 comparative boosted by strong performance fees) with revenue down 11% and increased Assets Under Management (‘AUM’) to £19.0bn (2019: £17.7bn.

The firm also highlighted a continued investment in people, technology leadership and innovation in sustainability.

Nick Penny, head of Scotland for Savills, said: “Our well-diversified business in Scotland has performed resiliently across all of our key Rural, Residential and Commercial markets in 2020, despite the significant disruption caused by Covid-19. We continue to grow our teams with strategic hires, strengthening our platform, and pride ourselves in delivering best in class expertise to our growing client list. This has positioned us well to capitalise on opportunities in the year ahead.”

Commenting on the results, Mark Ridley, Group chief executive, added: “Savills delivered a robust performance in 2020 reflecting the strength and resilience of our global, diversified business. We continued to grow our less transactional service lines and increase our market share, outperforming in many of our transactional markets despite the challenging conditions.

“Much of this outperformance is due to our strategy of retaining the strength of our teams and focussing resolutely on addressing both the pandemic-related, and longer-term, needs of our clients.

“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.

“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.”

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