Friday, 15 March 2013

L=TMC – how corporate occupiers make the right location decision

By Alex Andel - Head of Client Solutions EMEA

With MIPIM dominated by investors, it was the rare thing to see more than a few specialists from the demand side of the property economy in one place. Occupiers and their advisors did come together at the fDi panel breakfast - Where Next? Hot-spots for Corporate Expansion and the Drivers for Investment. I sat alongside leaders from Dell, EADS, JCI, JLL, and the City of Edinburgh. Each offered their perspectives on how occupiers, or in the case of Edinburgh, host cities, make location decisions.

My premise was simple and expressed with a formula. L=TMC. Selecting the right corporate expansion location (L) is a product of three primary variables: T(alent), M(arket) and C(ost). Here, Talent means the attraction and retention of a sustainable workforce that can support business. Markets refers to access to either customers, partners or suppliers that are critical to your business model. And we all know what Cost refers to.

No two companies will have the same mix. How an organisation prioritises these variables will depend on their industry sector, product or service mix, function of the occupants, and many other factors. The corporation that makes decisions based on the variables that work for them, makes good location decisions.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

The future’s (still) green

By Sam Pickering - Head of Energy and Sustainability GCS EMEA

Ben Munn (Head of Workplace Strategies for CBRE EMEA) posted an interesting blog explaining how the Occupier Survey is showing 65% of corporates embracing the flexible working model which is becoming increasingly commonplace. It illustrates how workplace strategy can aid in the delivery of sustainability indicators. What is particularly interesting about this – is not just the potential reduction in greenhouse gas emissions - but the wider opportunity to engage with staff more effectively in improving their new workspace, which, for most will be their own home. Our homes after all make up a significant percentage of emissions attributed to the built environment.

It seems possible to improve the energy efficiency of employee homes; in particular lighting and insulation, through developing innovative engagement and salary models which incentivise individuals to work from home and to reduce their energy bills, whilst also reducing their impact on the environment (both at work and in their own time). This type of model provides corporates with the double benefit of realising new corporate responsibility (CSR) goals, whilst also making a real impact on their emissions. Engagement - be it employee to employer or landlord / tenant - is where the solution lies. This innovative workplace solution, brought about through technology and forward thinking HR practice, will help us keep the future green in more ways than one.

“To lend or not to lend” – is that still the question?

By Natale Giostra, Head of UK & EMEA Debt Advisory

There is a lot of talk at MIPIM this year as to when the banks are going to start lending again.  The reality is that they have already started.  Their lending targets have started to pick up as their cost of capital has lowered, but they remain primarily focused on the refinancing of existing loans, as demand from borrowers looking to refinance reaches a peak.

However, new bank lending alone will not be enough to cover the market demand, and this is opening the doors for institutional lenders and debt funds.

Insurance companies have positioned themselves extremely well to take advantage of the situation by using the liquidity on their balance sheets to lend at rates which are often very competitive.  They can also be incredibly choosy and are looking for borrowers they like and providing loans only against the assets they prefer.  This has resulted in the margins for prime assets to gradually decrease over the last 12 months.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

What does the future hold for the workplace?

By Ben Munn, Head of Workplace Strategies

According to our recent Occupier Survey 65% of corporates believe workplace technology will impact future real estate strategy.

In spite of Yahoo!'s recent announcments we still expect the enablers of personal mobile technology and the growth of cloud computing to support an increase in flexible and mobile working.

It is not the technology per se that leads the change, but the confluence of the opportunity it brings with a business' (and its workforce's) drivers for success.

I expect corporates to increasingly embrace flexibility and choice, and 70% of respondents to our recent Occupier Survey agree. Companies now recognise the importance of offering staff more bespoke ways of working, with 40% of respondents believing that communication technology is a key consideration for their workforce, and a third citing flexible working options as an important issue for staff.

Investor Intentions Survey 2013

Peter Damesick, Chairman EMEA Research


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Is the ‘Boom Time’ Back for Dubai?

By Nick Maclean, Managing Director, Middle East

Dubai is once again an attractive proposition for foreign investors, stimulated in turn by the City’s occupier markets and its relative pricing, it is rekindling interest from overseas investors now that the value curve has become positive again.

In fact, corporate occupier activity within Dubai is at its strongest level since 2007; stemming principally from regional difficulties elsewhere and the quality of Dubai’s domestic and air transport infrastructure.  The Emirate’s office stock continues to see rapid growth amidst the delivery of significant strata inventory.  Total office stock at the end 2012 stood at 7.15 million sq m, reflecting growth of more than 140% since the end of 2007, where total supply measured just 2.97 million sq m.

Human capital is another factor which sets Dubai apart from its regional counterparts. Our data tells us that a key driver for corporate relocation to Dubai is the quality and relative depth of the labour pool. Many international companies use Dubai as a strategic geographic hub and a gateway to the Middle East, Africa and Asia, while the Emirate’s attractive lifestyle proposition and tax structure make it appealing for expatriates looking to escape austerity measures in their home country.  

Now is the time for  investors to look back again to Dubai and we look forward to answering any questions people may have during MIPIM about Dubai, the Emirates as a whole, or the wider Middle East.