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Allan Saunderson is managing editor of Property Finance Europe and a contributor to GlobeSt.com.

LONDON-International property adviser DTZ posted a loss of nearly £80 million for the fiscal year to end-April due to significant difficulties resulting from the global economic crisis, Chairman Tim Melville-Ross told the annual meeting in London recently. Revenue fell 18.4% to £364 million, and DTZ incurred restructuring costs of £17 million, with an impairment charge of £27 million.

However Melville-Ross said the group continues to make the business as competitive as possible to regain profitability. Cost savings should total £50 million in the current financial year, and to date, this has included the sale of DTZ’s 50% interest in DTZ Rockwood in the US. A strategic review has meant reappraisal of many of DTZ‘s business and management teams, including the closure of operations in Austria and Portugal.

The key event of 2008/9, was the completion in January 2009 of an equity placement of £48.7 million, plus a credit facility of up to £15 million from its largest shareholder, SAS Saint George Participations. DTZ also restructured its banking facilities to extend loan maturities and relax covenants, as well as hiring a new chief executive Paul Idzik, formerly COO at the UK’s Barclays bank.

“While the markets remain uncertain and difficult to predict, and we remain cautious, the group’s current trading is in line with market expectations,” Melville-Ross said. “In this volatile environment, we are confident that our strategy – to ensure the group’s cost base and coverage – is appropriately structured .. and will drive our future return to profitability.

Until then, our ongoing restructuring is making us more competitive in our well-established markets and enabling us to grow market share by doing what we do best – capitalizing on our strong brand to win new business and continue to focus on servicing our clients.”

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