Fire safety work plunges Countryside to £182m loss

Aaron Morby 2 months ago

Countryside Partnerships has suffered a £182m pre-tax loss in the first six months after booking major provisions to pay for building fire safety work.

John Marin, executive chair, ends role as interim group chief executive in fresh shake-up of responsibilities
John Marin, executive chair, ends role as interim group chief executive in fresh shake-up of responsibilities

The reported loss includes a £109m provision for fire safety and £77m of impairments relating to the switch from a home developer to partnerships business.

The revised remediation provision will take total spend to £150m on a programme involving 123 buildings constructed within the last 30 years, 11 of which are registered by the Building Safety Fund at a cost of £29.5m.

Due to the extent of the remediation works, Countryside is setting up a new standalone division to manage and deliver the programme. Some £19m of the latest provision covers the costs of this division.

Countryside said the work would be carried out over the next ten years.

Also chair John Martin announced it would commenced a review of group overheads and office footprint which, along with previously announced regional consolidation, would generate around £15m of annualised cost savings.

Martin was also acting as interim chief executive after previous chief executive Iain McPherson stepped down four months ago with immediate effect.

He will now return to focus entirely on the role of chair while Mike Woolliscroft (CEO Partnerships South) and Phil Chapman (CEO Partnerships Home Counties) step up to jointly lead the business until a new CEO is able to join.

(L-R) Mike Woolliscroft and Phil Chapman will now lead the business until a new CEO is found

Martin said Countryside was making good progress in the transition to an exclusively Partnerships business.

He reported the Partnerships South and newly-established Home Counties divisions had performed well while
there had been encouraging progress in North and Midlands divisions following site-by-site review.

“We have taken significant steps to improve operational performance, augment controls and manage our cost base to enhance returns and cash generation.

“We are delighted with the quality and scale of new bids we have won and invested in during the first half, further strengthening our significant pipeline for profitable growth.”

Before provisions, adjusted operating profit stood at £47m (£77m: H1 2021) on revenue down 9% at £602m.

Average net debt stood £104m in the first six months.

Countryside’s total forward order book now stands at £1.8bn, up 19% since the start of the year.

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