FEDERICO CERDAS

Mexico 2021 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Federico Cerdas, CEO of Global Businesses Inc., about efficiency, opportunities in the real estate market, and priorities for 2021.

What strategies did you implement in your business model to adapt to the new economic context?

What has been challenging for us is being more efficient, and efficiency is about how we conduct better engineering for our projects in such a way that they are structurally safe and also maximize the resources we use on them. The second part is how the team is being deployed to build our projects and how we manage those teams to not only be more productive but also avoid duplication during the construction process. The third part is adapting our sales strategy to the new reality that has to do with online sales, how we approach a customer via internet platforms, and how we design our processes in such a way that we are able to sell contactless. That is how we have been changing the way we do business for the last six months, and it has worked out well. We sold 20% of all our available units in the last six months. These have been the three main issues facing our company. There are currently two challenges Mexico is facing: its ability to provide certainty and security to investors that want to put money in our country and how it can provide legal protection and confidence to any company in the business environment. If we are able to provide such reassurance to foreign investors, we will be able to attract large amounts of FDI into the country. Two years ago, the government changed, and the message we are sending as a country to our foreign partners is at times not as stable as it should be. As a country that is something that we need to improve.

What are the best opportunities for investment in the real estate market at the moment?

If we divide the real estate industry into five different asset classes, it is easier for people to understand and invest their money. First, there are industrial assets, and they are mostly used by companies that come here to manufacture their products and use Mexico as a logistics platform to enter the US market. The second is the residential asset, which is what we do, and there are two possibilities: for sale or for rent. The third type of asset is office, which has been hit hard not just because of COVID-19 but also because of the trend of companies using platforms for their teams, resolving issues with suppliers, and so on. The fourth type is retail or commercial assets, and that will also take a large hit because the trend is heading toward e-commerce in the next 10 years. COVID-19 merely accelerated the pace, and retail will struggle, though some areas will still be in good shape because there are some things one just cannot purchase online. The final and fifth asset is a mixed asset, which includes hotels, retirement houses, and beach homes for retirees. Tourism has taken a huge hit around the world because of COVID-19, but that will soon change because people will be more keen to travel after being in their homes for a long period of time. In 2H2021, we will see that asset moving. If one was to invest in one of those assets, it would be residential or industrial. Those are the ones that will always perform well.

What are your priorities for 2021 when it comes to your business?

2021 will be a year of deployment. In 2020, we acquired large plots of land that will help us develop in 2021 and 2022. We will focus on construction and generating 2,500 jobs. In addition, we will develop a foreign market. We have already opened in Houston in the US to develop our residential market there. Texas is an interesting state, so we are deploying investment in the middle house market where rents are around USD2,000-3,000 per month. In 2021, we will construct on the land we acquired in 2020 and develop our residential market in Houston. Houston is a very hot market right now. Tesla just decided to move to Texas because of taxes. Companies are willing to buy and manufacture products from the US and send them back to Mexico and vice versa, so being in Texas gives us that additional dynamic.