Alistair Elliott, Senior Partner & Group Chairman, commented: “I am pleased to report another set of strong results which pay testament to our unique partnership model. Whilst profit levels are constrained, they are nonetheless very encouraging given the significant investment we have made in people during the year and the relative weakening of certain markets during our fourth quarter. Our focus on strategic recruitment of outstanding people in key locations is paying dividends, demonstrated by our growth in market share and our ability to complete market-leading deals. With no debt and strong profits every year, we are in robust shape to continue the development of our business and address the future cycles. Our focus on profit delivery will continue.”
Results for the year ended 31 March 2016:
• Group turnover up 4.0% to £460.9m (2015: £443.1m)
• Group profit before tax down 4.7% to £152.6m (2015: £160.1m)
• Strong balance sheet with net assets at £223.7m (2015: £210.8m)
“In the UK we had a second successive record year in the regional commercial markets, launched our 30th residential office in London and delivered particularly impressive performances from our specialist sector teams, residential lettings and our investment management arm, Knight Frank Investment Management, which now has more than £1bn under management.
“Across our group we have seen double digit growth in India, Greater China, the Middle East and Africa and have made great progress in strategic recruitment, notably in Berlin, London, Paris, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. We’ve also significantly grown our capital markets capabilities within NGKF in the US to comprise a leading team of more than 345 people across the states.
The way forward
“There are huge opportunities for us to grow our business around the world. Whilst it’s clear that economic and political uncertainties have never been greater, there is a global accumulation of investment capital which we consider will increasingly be drawn to property given its attractive returns, especially relative to most other options.
“In the first half of this year, UK markets became distracted by the looming EU referendum. Nonetheless, the fundamentals remain strong and the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote has been less dramatic than feared. Volumes and prices, especially in the residential sector, are down but activity is gradually recovering and we consider this trend will continue if the on-going dialogue with Europe gathers pace and the messages are broadly positive.”
“In Australia, where the real estate sector continues to thrive, we have continued our expansion, now with our emphasis on the residential sector.
“Elsewhere across South East Asia and Greater China we are seeing strong signs of increased local activity and capital flows, albeit the on-going cooling measures in Singapore and Hong Kong continue to constrain the residential sector.”