StockMarketWire.com - Real estate agency Purplebricks Group said its founder and chief executive Michael Bruce had left immediately, as it also announced a strategic review of its US business and exit from Australia.

Bruce had been replaced with previous chief operating officer Vic Darvey.

Purplebricks had been expanding in the US rapidly.

However, the company said it had decided to materially cut investment in marketing and other overheads to reduce expenditure 'to sustainable levels' and begun a strategic review that would ultimately shrink the business.

'As part of this review, management proposes to examine the options for delivering the next phase of growth in a more effective and cost-efficient way, including more closely considering the opportunities and risks associated with a materially scaled back US business,' the company said.

A further announcement on the strategic review would be made in due course, it added.

In Australia, Purplebricks said market conditions had become increasingly challenging.

'This, combined with some execution errors, has resulted in the business not delivering the progress the board expected.'

'The board has therefore concluded that the prospective returns from Australia are not sufficient to justify continued investment.'

'Accordingly, the group has chosen to exit the Australian market and the business there has been put into an orderly run down with immediate effect, pending closure.'

'The business remains committed to our current customers.'

Purplebricks said it expected its annual revenue to be in the £130m-to-140m range that it guided to in February.

Cash balances as at 30 April would be not less than £62m, it added.

'Whilst the UK property market remains challenging, the company continues to out-perform the market and the board remains confident about the future of the business,' Purplebricks said.

'Having established a market-leading position, there remain many opportunities for further profitable growth and this will be a key area of focus going forward.'

In Canada, the company said its business continued to perform well and trading was in line with management's expectations.

At 8:08am: [LON:PURP] Purplebricks Group PLC share price was -8.9p at 126.1p



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