I launched B. Prime in 2009 at the peak of the financial and real estate crisis. Since then, B. Prime has grown and become active in all segments of commercial real estate. Initially, we focused mainly on our offices agency business because that was our core business. From there, we developed new business areas such as investment, valuation, interior design, and asset and property management. One of the main goals we have achieved is being in a good position to retain our international clients because we are able to cover all their real estate needs; around 85% of our turnover is from international clients. At present, the office market is quite limited in terms of supply, which is one of the main challenges. The crisis halted construction activities but it is slowly resuming. Over the years, we have been responsible for marketing most parts of the office buildings in the Expo area. We are known for having a strong relationship with the historic areas in Chiado and downtown and have also been involved in the most important deals, including the 2017 deal for Google's Portugal headquarters. What differentiates Portugal's real estate market is high-quality assets. Portugal is a mature economy that is attractive and dynamic. Equally important, while Lisbon is a European capital, it offers higher returns compared to other capital cities. The rents are quite low and returns are still higher compared to countries like Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Belgium.
Managing Partner, B. Prime
Francisco Horta e Costa
General Manager, CBRE Portugal
CBRE opened in Portugal in 1988 and has witnessed multiple cycles, in particular the crisis between 2009 and 2012; however, we have been breaking records from 2014 onward. In 2018, we will have our third record year in a row; our revenue in 2018 is six times larger than what it was five years ago. Also, our staff has increased from around 30 people in 2013 to 160 in 2018. We have diversified our business through new business lines in Portugal, such as having a dedicated hotels team. Similarly, CBRE has a dedicated capital advisors team since September 2017, and capital advisors is an area within capital markets that dedicates to corporate financial side of real estate. Moreover, CBRE does some debt advisory, equity placement, and M&A. We also do equity placement and have a big building consultancy team composed of architects and engineers for consultancy services. Over the years, CBRE has become leaders in project management of offices in the Portuguese market. In the retail sector, the company plays an important role in the refurbishment of shopping centers. We also have our asset services business line, and it has grown exponentially over the last three-four years. At present, we manage almost 1.2 million sqm of properties across all sectors except hotels and residential. The goal is always to grow. The market's fundamentals are quite interesting and healthy. We want to consolidate our new business lines such as hotels or capital advisors. Our priority in 2019 is not to expand our team but to incorporate technology because the real estate sector has been slow in implementing technology.
General Manager, JLL Portugal
JLL started as a retail consultancy company during the boom of shopping centers. After 2007, we started to look at other areas of real estate, especially offices. Since JLL was focused on commercial real estate, we started covering the entire commercial realm. From 1997-2007, our labor force grew from one to 35, which was followed by four difficult years due to the recession. In 2014, we acquired Avenida da Liberdade, a construction company that specializes in retail. JLL constructed all the shops, and the project was a big success. Later in 2015, we bought a residential company called Cobertura. So far, we have multiplied our business by 10 times and our workforce by eight. In doing so, JLL's volume of annual transactions has skyrocketed from EUR5 million to EUR60 million. We are the only company that covers all the segments and sells a 360-degree scope of work. We have 100 people working for the residential segment and 200 working for the commercial segment. JLL Portugal is about the size of JLL Italy, although we were more similar to JLL Hungary when we started. The new lease law in 2013 triggered Portugal's success story. The government made some important reforms in terms of golden visa and non-habitual residence. Over the last 12 months, JLL has done business with 53 different nationalities. In October 2018, we worked with 23 different nationalities. In the commercial sector, the biggest investors are from the US, the UK, France, Spain, and some from Asia. In terms of residential, the main ones are Brazil, France, Turkey, and Scandinavia.