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25 August, 2006 - 15:02 By Staff Reporter

Countrywide profits soar

The UK’s insatiable appetite for house-buying has underpinned a staggering 1,700 per cent increase in pre-tax profit for the first half of 2006 over the same period in 2005 at leading UK estate agent, Countrywide plc.Backed by a £72.3 million increase in revenues for the period to £308.5m (2005: £236.2m), Essex-based Countrywide inc-reased dividends five-fold to five pence per share (2005: 1p).

Profit before tax, boosted by the profits on the disposal of part of Countrywide’s interests in Rightmove plc and TMG Holdings and the sale of its commercial surveying division, was a record £62.8m (2005: £3.5m).

Countrywide chairman, Christopher Sporborg, said that despite a potential seasonal lull and the recent rise in interest rates the market should continue at normal levels provided rates didn’t continue to rise on a regular basis.

Sporborg said: “House prices should continue to increase on a gentle upward trend. In this event, we are confident of the immediate future and anticipate a further strong profit and cash flow performance next year.”

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