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Savills in the black

Savills PLC has revealed profits before tax of £33.2m with its private finance arm also making a modest profit.

The real estate group, which incorporates estate agencies, national and international property development as well as an adviser arm revealed reduced profits, down from 2007’s £85.5m.

Savills Private Finance, the UK adviser arm, made a profit of £400,000, down from £5m in 2007.

SPF managing director Mark Harris says the important thing for the group is that it is in the black in the midst of a “car crash” of a market.

He says: “We are still in profit and we are budgeting to make sure we can make a slim profit in 2009, that’s what important. We are confident that there is still a market out there for advisers going forward: people want advice and they will always want advice, pure and simple.”

Harris says SPF will survive the mortgage downturn thanks to its cash reserves, the lead generation from the estate agencies and its support from the Savills’ pensions, insurance and wealth management arms.

He says: “There is no denying it, it’s a car crash of a market right now. If you are an adviser whose income is down 40 per cent, you have to spend your own money to survive and that can’t last long. The ones who will make are those who ask the right questions and do the fact find. They have more time with their clients now, so they should be asking the right questions.”

SPF also revealed it will be seeking to rebuild Concordia, the London brokerage group. Alongside Foxton’s Alexander Hall, the pair are now the only two members after Colbalt Capital, Chase de Vere Mortgage Management and Hamptons Mortgages closed their doors.

“We are looking to expand,” says Harris, “there are one or two firms we may consider. We still believe large London DAs should stick together; it makes us attractive to lenders with our enhanced service and leverage. We are looking for safety in numbers because it’s lonely out there right now.”

Concordia member Alexander Hall says it is also still in profit and will work with SPF to rebuild the group.

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