Future of Work

Countrywide, the UK’s largest estate agency group, has cancelled plans for a new bonus package for its bosses following an outcry from investors.

The package could have paid out a total of £20m to three executives, depending on the firm’s share price performance over the next three years.

Shares in Countrywide plunged earlier this month when it said it needed to raise funds amid a weak housing market. Auditors had warned the company faced a struggle to stay in business.

Countrywide, whose 50 brands include Bairstow Eves, Hamptons International, Mann and John D Wood is aiming to raise £140m from shareholders.

The executive bonus package plan would have been voted on at a shareholders’ meeting later this month, but it was already clear that most investors were against the plan.

Countrywide is not the only estate agent company to be suffering as turnover in the housing market remains subdued.

London-focused agency Foxtons has said it expects “trading conditions to remain challenging during 2018”, with sales anticipated to be lower than last year. Shares in Countrywide, which were at 52p at the start of the year, were down 3% on Monday at 14.1p -valuing the company at less than £33m.

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