Purplebricks boss exits as online estate agent scales back expansion

Purplebricks has ousted its chief executive and said it would pull out of Australia and scale back its US business after the online estate agency admitted it had expanded too quickly.

IMAGE: Purple Bricks

It is understood Michael Bruce, who founded the company in 2012 with his brother Kenny, stepped down after the non-executive chair, Paul Pindar, decided to take action following what he described on Tuesday as a “disappointing” 12 months.

Bruce, who owns 11% of Purplebricks, has been replaced by the chief operating officer, Vic Darvey. Darvey joined the firm in January from MoneySuperMarket, where he was managing director. Bruce will receive his annual salary of £150,000 but will not get a bonus, as disclosed in the latest accounts.

Shares in the company, which does not have any branches, fell 7% after Pindar apologised to shareholders in a trading update for its poor performance and conceded it had made a number of mistakes including over expansion abroad.

Pindar said: “With hindsight, our rate of geographic expansion was too rapid and as a result, the quality of execution has suffered. We have also made sub-optimal decisions in allocating capital. We will learn from these errors and will not make them again.”

The company said it would close its Australian division after the market had become tougher. It also admitted to making “some execution errors” in the two-and-a-half years it had been operating in the country.

Purplebricks is also carrying out a strategic review of its business in the US, which it is scaling back operations and cutting spending on marketing.

The company said that although conditions were “challenging” in the UK, it was outperforming the wider market and saw plenty of opportunity for profitable growth.

Purplebricks slashed its revenue forecast in February and announced the sudden departure of its UK and US heads. It stuck to this revised estimate on Tuesday, predicting full-year revenues of between £130m and £140m.

Shares were worth 100p when the firm floated on London’s junior Aim market in December 2015, and peaked at nearly 500p in July 2017. Since then the shares have slumped about 75% to trade at 126p on Tuesday.

The share price decline has dealt a blow to Woodford Investment Management, led by the well-known City investor Neil Woodford. It is the largest shareholder in the company, with a 28% stake.

Purplebricks, which does not have any branches, charges sellers an upfront fee for advertising their property online and arranging viewings, while traditional estate agents charge after a home is sold.

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Luxury Mill Pool development achieves regional industry award

Millpool Development - Tarporley, Cheshire

CB Homes have recently announced the news that they have won the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) award for ‘Best Small Development in the Northwest’. The Mill Pool residential development in Rushton, Cheshire, has scooped the award. Consequently, it will now be pitted against winners from around the UK at the Grand Final in London in November.

Exclusive self-build projects

Based in Cheshire, CB Homes are an award-winning business, designing and building some of the most prestigious properties in the county. Established in 1981, their unique approach to design and construction has seen them successfully create exclusive self-build projects. They have built distinctive developments and exclusive barn conversions. For instance, the Mill Pool is a superb example of CB Homes’ design capabilities.

Country living

The project was a redevelopment within the footprint of the former Mill Pool Restaurant site. The dilapidated building was demolished before construction started. Situated in Rushton, Cheshire East, the new luxury development comprises two five-bedroomed homes with a beautiful lakeside outlook. The adjacent properties, Mallards and Grebe, have been designed with elegance and space in mind. Similarly, they incorporate such luxuries as underfloor heating and unrivalled waterside views. However, visually the design is very much in keeping with the Cheshire locale, through its use of brick and slate. Moreover, the development is ideally positioned for the nearby village of Tarporley, with its range of shops and services. The properties offer the peacefulness of country living with the convenience of village amenities.

Construction excellence

The LABC Building Excellence Awards showcase builders and designers who demonstrate construction excellence while overcoming construction challenges and complex technical issues. The awards highlight innovative and creative solutions that create safe, sustainable and high-quality construction projects. The Mill Pool project now needs to impress the judges at the national LABC Building Excellence Awards 2019. This event takes place at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge in London on Friday 8 November.

Recognising creativity

The awards recognise designers’ and companies’ creativity, and the team at CB Homes is gratified to be recognised for its project at The Mill Pool. Moreover, the award is one among many accolades they have achieved over the years, including an LABC Building Excellence Award in 2012 for ‘Best Small Housing Development’, in addition to several awards from leading industry body the Federation of Master Builders.

Air pollution

Air pollution may be damaging every organ & cell in the human body

Air pollution may be damaging every organ and virtually every cell in the human body, according to a comprehensive new global review.

The air pollution research shows head-to-toe harm, from heart and lung disease to diabetes and dementia. From liver problems and bladder cancer to brittle bones and damaged skin. Fertility, foetuses and children are also affected by toxic air, the review found.

The systemic damage is the result of pollutants causing inflammation, that then floods through the body and ultrafine particles. These are carried around the body by the bloodstream. Read more