Purplebricks set to guide investor expectations

More than 1.2 million mortgage payment holidays offered amid COVID-19

Estate agency Purplebricks (LON:PURP) is publishing its full year figures on Wednesday and these will be the first results presented by new chief executive Vic Darvey, who took over from founder Michael Bruce in May.

Darvey joined as chief operating officer from Moneysupermarket.com, where he was managing director.

The recent trading statement says that group revenues will be in the range of £130m-£140m, but the real interest will be in the performance of the international operations. There is also the concern about what will happen to the stake owned by Woodford Investment Management.


Purplebricks is already closing its Australian operations and the future of its other international operations is in the balance.

An interim chief executive has been appointed to the US operations. At the very least, this will be scaled back. A strategic review has begun but it may not be finished by this week.

Canada is one part of the business that appears to be trading well.


Recent figures from ULS Technology (LON: ULS), which generates income from providing leads to conveyancing firms, show that the UK property market is still tough.

Purplebricks does have a strong market position, though. The UK will become the focus of the business, but this may require significant marketing spending. The cash has been flowing out of the business, particularly due to the international operations.


There was at least £62m in cash at the end of April 2019. This is not likely to last long given the cash hungry nature of the business and closure costs for Australia. There may be indications of whether more cash will be needed this year.


The Woodford funds owned more than 29% of estate agency Purplebricks a couple of months ago and that has been reduced to 19.25%.

Toscafund Asset Management nearly doubled its stake to 10.1%. Merian Global Investors increased its stake from 13.2% to 16.6%, so there are still fans.

This is not an ideal time to be selling shares given the trading problems, but Purplebricks is one of the more regularly traded AIM shares in the Woodford portfolios. That means that further disposals are likely if Woodford can achieve them without hurting the share price too much.


House broker Peel Hunt does not have the confidence in the business to publish forecasts. That may change after the full year figures are published. Citigroup was recently appointed joint broker.

The shares are currently trading just below the 100p a share placing price when it joined AIM in December 2015. The remaining Woodford stake remains an overhang that would hold back the share price even if there were positive trading news.

It seems unlikely that there will be much positive news coming out of the results announcement, so the share price is more likely to fall than rise significantly.