Shares in Savills rose 5% this morning as the company revealed a 14% rise in 2007 pre-tax profits.

The company also sounded a confident statement for 2008 despite the current uncertainty in the investment and occupational markets.

Shares rose 17p to 350p, as the services firm revealed a 14% rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £85.5m. Revenue rose 26% to £651m and underlying basic earnings rose 13% to 46p a share.

The full-year dividend was raised 12.5% to 18p.

Challenging outlook

Chairman Peter Smith said: ‘2008 will be a challenging year for the property industry worldwide. However, not all segments and geographies will be affected equally. With its broad range of services, its high quality staff and its geographic spread Savills is well placed to seize the opportunities.

‘The outlook for our UK and US commercial capital markets businesses and our UK residential and mortgage broking businesses, continues to depend on how quickly confidence returns to financial markets.’

Chief executive Aubrey Adams will be replaced by Jeremy Helsby in May after 18 years at the helm. He said: ‘Commercial investment transactions slowed in the second half following the effect of the credit squeeze and the anticipation of yields moving out. On the Residential side, prime markets held up well, but showed some signs of slowing towards the end of the year.’

Star performers

Pretax profits for the company’s transactional divisional, which includes capital markets and occupational services, rose 5% to £48.6m, and accounted for 57% of the overall profits. Revenue rose 23% to £304m.

Cordea Savills, the company’s fund management division, was the star performer in terms of growth, Assets under management grew 66% to £3.5bn as the company launched six new funds. Underlying pre-tax profit for the division rose by almost five times, and revenue almost doubled.

Property and facilities management was the worst performing division, with profits down 5%, due to falling profits and reduced income from Australia and Korea.