Refocus of business helps Lisney boost profit by 29%

Estate agent ‘making conscious decision to go further upmarket’, says managing director

Lisney Limited recorded an almost 29 per cent increase in pretax profit to €775,565 in the year ended March 31st, 2017, despite a 5 per cent dip in revenue to €11.94 million. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Lisney Limited recorded an almost 29 per cent increase in pretax profit to €775,565 in the year ended March 31st, 2017, despite a 5 per cent dip in revenue to €11.94 million. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Estate agent Lisney improved its profitability in 2017 as its new managing director refocused aspects of the business into higher-margin work.

Recently filed accounts for Lisney Limited show the company recorded an almost 29 per cent increase in pretax profit to €775,565 in the year ended March 31st, 2017, despite a 5 per cent dip in revenue to €11.94 million. Duncan Lyster, the company’s managing director, told The Irish Times this revenue decline came as the business repurposed staff into work that delivered better returns for the company.

Profits at the company were also buoyed by “other operating income”, which increased from €294,416 to €445,628. That included income from one of the group’s Belfast companies, historic debt recovery, rent from operational properties and the letting of car-parking spaces.

Outlining changes made in his first year in the job, Mr Lyster said the company made some decisions to get out of bits of work that were not profitable. He noted the company closed its Drumcondra office and opened another office on the Howth Road at a cost of €500,000, adding that the brand had not worked in its former location. He said that decision had been paying off.

Upmarket

“We continue to evolve the business. Profits are up, shareholder funds are up, we want to make sure we’re fitter, leaner, more ready for a shock if a shock were to come to the market,” he said.

“What we are doing is making the conscious decision to go further upmarket. Our natural place is probably further upmarket but the recession dragged us to a place where we weren’t comfortable and the brand didn’t work,” Mr Lyster added.

As part of its recent investment the company has put money into its residential branch network – which accounts for roughly a third of the business’s turnover.

The estate agency employed 111 people in the year, down by four on the previous year, while wage and salary costs dropped by 8.7 per cent to €6.9 million. The company directors received fees of €2.45 million.

Lisney Limited had two subsidiaries in the period, Lisney NI Limited and Lisney Property Management Limited. The Northern Irish branch of the company made a profit of €632,881 while the property management division made a €12,246 loss, however that is expected to have a better result this year.

Established in 1934 as Harry Lisney & Son, the company is planning to continue to expand and while Mr Lyster would not divulge plans for the business, he said: “There are exciting things in the hopper.”

“I can’t say with any degree of certainty where we’ll be in March but we’re ahead of forecasts,” he added.