(Bloomberg) -- Compass Inc., the real estate brokerage led by Robert Reffkin, is taking new cost-cutting measures as it seeks to generate positive cash flow in a slowing US housing market.
The New York-based company said it would implement a cost-cutting strategy that should save the brokerage about $320 million in expenses next year, according to an earnings release Monday. The move, which should be completed by the end of the year, follows earlier measures, announced in June, that included a 10% reduction of Compass’s salaried workforce.
The main cuts will come from Compass’s technology operation and from the incentives used to acquire agents, Chief Operating Officer Greg Hart said Monday on a conference call discussing second-quarter results. The aim is to reduce expenses without impacting the services the company provides to agents, he said.
The company’s shares dropped as much as 20% in after-market trading Monday. The stock was down nearly 49% this year through Monday’s close of regular trading.
Compass, which vaulted from a new entrant in the industry a decade ago to the largest US real estate brokerage last year, has struggled to turn an annual profit even during one of the hottest housing markets ever. The company’s now among the real estate companies facing the sales slowdown that’s gripped US housing thanks in part to higher borrowing costs.
“Given the challenges the real estate market has faced so far this year and the likelihood that this difficult environment will continue for the foreseeable future, we are announcing a significant cost-reduction program,” Reffkin, who is the chief executive officer, said in the statement Monday. “We have line of sight into each area that will drive these savings to our expenses, which we believe will enable us to be free cash flow positive in 2023.”
While Reffkin said the company still expects to become cash flow positive in 2023, Compass suspended the timeframe for reaching its target of at least 8% to 9% free cash flow margin, calling that now a “longer-term” forecast instead of a goal for 2025. The CEO said on Monday’s call that the brokerage’s focus will also be on gaining market share without sacrificing profits as well as retaining agents.
Compass reported a net loss of $101 million in the second quarter, missing an estimate for an expected loss of $63 million based on analyst forecasts compiled by Bloomberg. The brokerage’s revenues of $2 billion were up 4% compared to the same period last year.
(Updates with details on cost cuts in third paragraph, company details in fifth paragraph, and cash flow in seventh.)
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