Rightmove shares slip amid customer ‘cash flow concerns’

Rightmove has said some of its agent customers can defer payments amid “concerns over cash flow” caused by the coronavirus outbreak

Shares in the firm slipped by 15.2% to 427.2p in early trading on Wednesday after the company said it anticipated the “uncertain environment” would lead to financial concerns among customers.

The online property business said it is “very early” to assess the potential impact of the outbreak on the UK property market and its customer base.

Nevertheless, it announced a payment deferral plan of £275 a month for up to six months for its agent customers.

It told investors traffic to its platforms “continued to be strong over the last two weeks” despite the virus.

Agent numbers in January and February were also in line with its forecasts, the company added.

Peter Brooks-Johnson, chief executive officer of Rightmove, said: “At Rightmove, we are doing everything in our power to rise to the challenges of Covid 19.

“Our focus, first and foremost, is on protecting the welfare of our employees and our customers.

“We also continue to run the business with a view to delivering long-term, sustainable success and remain focused on the interests of all our stakeholders.”

Rightmove said it does “not have visibility” on the potential impact of coronavirus or related travel restrictions over the coming months but said it is “highly cash generative” and has a “very strong balance sheet”.