() has said its profits this year will exceed expectations after house sales and mortgage demand rebounded strongly after the first coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.
The company said revenues for the year to end-December 2020 rose by 12% to £21.6mln, which was higher than pre-COVID-19 forecasts, helped by the performance of the Lovelle network acquired in January
House sale commissions rose by 12%, of which 10% came from Lovelle, while recurring franchise income rose by 2% to £9mln as Belvoir said the March lockdown had a minimal impact on lettings.
Financial services income was 13% higher at £9.6mln as remortgages and life protection products offset the impact of lockdown on new mortgage applications.
Cash generation was also strong, Belvoir added, with year-end net debt at £3.7mln (2019: £6.9m) after paying £2mln for Lovelle in January.
Belvoir had already said it would repay all furlough money, reimburse staff for lost earnings and reinstate the suspended dividend for 2019.
Dorian Gonsalves, chief executive, noted that the group has grown profits for 24 consecutive years, including through the 2007 financial crash, the 2019 ban on tenant fees and now the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
“All parts of the business have performed exceptionally well despite the backdrop of the pandemic,” he said in the trading update. “We are conscious that the stamp duty holiday is due to end on 31 March 2021, however, we are confident that having traded successfully through 2020, we are well-positioned to deal with any further challenges in 2021.”