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Adaugat in data de 01-04-2012

Central & Eastern Europe exceeds 3 million square meters take-up in 2011

Central & Eastern Europe exceeds 3 million square meters take-up in 2011 Cushman & Wakefield releases the data regarding the record high in the evolution of real-estate industrial sector in Central & Eastern Europe and explains the trends in Romania, in this context. As the latest records show, despite the state of the global economy that did not exceed the critical moment, take-up of modern industrial premises has been increasing, 2011 being the year with the largest growth of this decade according to Cushman & Wakefield reports.

“2011 was an important year for the real estate industrial sector”, states Gabriel Sfetcu, Head of Industrial Department at Cushman & Wakefield Romania. “The volume of premises taken-up has reached a record high of more than 3.2 million square meters, thus having exceeded the previous record dating back to the period of the market peak (almost 2.8 million square meters in 2008)”, explains Sfetcu.

“Demand on the part of firms for high-quality logistics and manufacturing premises in Central Europe has been based on their trust in that market. Two to three years ago, the global market was overwhelmed with concerns and companies opted for postponing their plans for expanding or moving their manufacturing premises.

The period of uncertainty has caused them to look for the most efficient solutions”, says Ferdinand Hlobil, Head of the CE Industrial Team, Cushman & Wakefield.
“The Central European region has demonstrated a certain market stability; its other advantages undoubtedly comprise a relatively cheap labor force, geographic closeness to the stable Western European markets, and the consumer markets within this region, which may still grow”, Ferdinand Hlobil adds.

According to Cushman & Wakefield’ specialists, the largest share in take-up were recorded in Poland, which made up almost 60 per cent of the entire take-up last year. Growing interest was noted in all countries of the region with the exception of Czech Republic. The highest year-to-year increase in activities was seen in Slovakia where the take-up volume almost doubled as against 2010.

“Romania also benefited from a record trading”, says Gabriel Sfetcu. “The Romanian industrial real estate market grew by approximately 100% in 2011, as total surface leased. At the end of 2011 we could have spoken of a transacted area of approximately 150,000 square meters compared to 75,000 square meters at the end on previous year”.

Central Eastern Europe - New developments in 2011

Last year’s development projects reflected a moderate revival; still the figure remains low as compared to the record-high years. While almost 2.5 million square meters were developed in the record-high year 2008, the figure was slightly over 800,000 square meters last year. Slovakia noted a higher activity rate as ten times more stock was developed last year - 60,000 square meters as against 2010 - 5,000 square meters.

“All parties involved would welcome a revival of new development projects. There are only minimal available premises ready for immediate occupation in Slovakia, so those interested in their take-up faced limited options. The majority of new developments were reserved for pre-leases; however, for the first time since 2009, speculative development projects were also launched, and it even occurred in several locations at a time, including Eastern Slovakia”, says Martin Baláž, Head of the Industrial Letting Team in Slovakia.

Rents and its development

Rent volatility has been low during 2011; the base rent ranged last year between EUR 3.5 and 3.7 per square meter per month. In the most attractive locations, however, rent may grow faster as available premises are taken up. This applies especially to Slovakia and also to other countries in Central Europe including Romania where the ratio of available stock dropped under 5 per cent.
Where the vacancy rate is high, occupiers may enjoy various incentives from developers.

Vacancy rate

The vacancy rate had been declining in the Central Europe region for the second year running and it reached an average value slightly in excess of ten per cent at the end of 2011. This figure represents a sound vacancy rate as supply and demand are balanced. “However, we are talking about average values for the entire region. The individual countries differ substantially with regards to this criterion”, says Ferdinand Hlobil, and he continues: “A drop under ten per cent should serve to stimulate new development projects. Developers have been waiting for that signal; however, the question remains whether those new development projects would find financial backing from the banks.”

While Hungary has more than one-fifth of premises available for rent vacant, the same figure has been fluctuating around the “unsound” five percent in Slovakia for the second year in succession. In Romania, the vacancy rate declined significantly by ten per cent, year-to-year, down to the current less than five per cent. The Czech, too, has been heading towards such rates.

“A vacancy rate below 5 % can lead to significant industrial space rents growth, which eventually can slow down the transactions in this sector”, explains the Head of Industrial Department, Cushman & Wakefield Romania.

„On the other hand”, continued Sfetcu „a low vacancy rate in the neighboring countries, confirms our temperate optimism that suppliers of the large companies will consider relocating their production facilities close to major customers in order to reduce delivery times and transport costs.”

”Also, if a vacancy rate of under 5% in Slovakia is less in square meters of available industrial space, in Romania for a total of 1,400,000 square meters industrial space , a vacancy rate of 5% means approximately 70,000 square meters which could attract manufacturers to our country. ”

Romania – results for 2011 and forecasts for 2012

“In 2011 we had a growing trend of occupancy rate; more demands from the manufacturing industry and also from logistic operators, new on the market, resulting from mergers and separations of other operators already present on Romanian market”, states Gabriel Sfetcu, Head of Industrial Department, Cushman & Wakefield Romania.

”Regarding 2012, this year may end at the same level of performance as 2011 or with a growth of 15 – 20 % if the accelerate rate of last year persists.”, also says Sfetcu.

„Although the beginning of 2012 was extremely slow, fact that would contradict our forecasts for growth, this month demands began to appear, demands that should be completed in approximately 4 to 6 months”, concludes Gabriel Sfetcu.

”More than that”, says Sfetcu, “new speculative developments begun to emerge. Meaning that developers which until know built on request, have obtained funds and began building based on forecasted growth of demand. An example is Graells & Llonch Industrial Park Turda, near Cluj, with a total area of approximately 12,000 – 15, 000 square meters, dedicated to average boxes of 1,500 square meters.”
Graells & Llonch Industrial Park Turda is developed by a Spanish company that has realized a similar place in Prejmer, Brasov.

“This year, we expect a continued moderate revival in new development projects, which has been stimulated especially by the low vacancy rate in the most attractive locations. On the demand side, the retail chains will probably further increase efficiency of their warehousing capacities, in order to ensure supplies for their shops. Also demand for manufacturing premises might continue, especially in regards to automobile manufactures connected to the German economy. The market performance may remain approximately equal to the values recorded last year”, concludes Ferdinand Hlobil.

Cushman & Wakefield is the world’s largest privately-held commercial real estate services firm. The company advises and represents clients on all aspects of property occupancy and investment, and has established a preeminent position in the world’s major markets, as evidenced by its frequent involvement in many of the most significant property leases, sales and assignments. Founded in 1917 it has 235 offices in 60 countries and more than 14,000 employees. It offers a complete range of services for all property types, fully-integrated on a global basis, including leasing, sales and acquisitions, debt and equity financing, investment banking, corporate services, property management, facilities management, project management, consulting and appraisal. The firm has more than $5.5 billion in assets under management through its wholly-owned subsidiary Cushman & Wakefield Investors. A recognized leader in local and global real estate research, the firm publishes its market information and studies online at In Romania, Cushman & Wakefield maintains two market-leading offices in Bucharest and Timisoara..

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Amy Myers Jaffe, senior enegry adviser at Rice University's Baker Institute. But it can't eliminate the risk of a Vladimir Putin or a Hugo Chavez. This new way of looking at risk is at the heart of the transformation. International oil companies traditionally face a choice: They can either invest in oil that is easy to produce but located in politically volatile countries. Or they can seek opportunities in stable countries where the oil is hard to extract, requiring complex and expensive production techniques.Bloomberg News (2); AFP/Getty Images (2)Now, in a sense, the choice has been made for them. Big onshore fields in the world's most prolific hydrocarbon provinces are increasingly the preserve of national oil companies, state-owned behemoths like Saudi Aramco and Russia's OAO Rosneft and OAO Gazprom. For foreign majors like Royal Dutch Shell PLC and BP PLC, their former heartlands in the Gulf sands are now largely off-limits.Shut out of the Middle East, they have responded with a huge push into new areas, both geographic and technological. Over the past few decades, they have built vast plants to produce liquefied natural gas, or LNG. They have drilled for oil in ever-deeper waters, ever farther offshore. They have worked out how to squeeze oil from the tar sands of Alberta. And they have deployed technologies like hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and horizontal drilling to produce gas from shale rock.Wood Mackenzie, an oil consultancy in Edinburgh, says that more than half of the international oil companies' long-term capital investments are now going into these four resource themes —a huge shift, considering how marginal the companies once considered them.There are also drawbacks to the new focus on nontraditional kinds of hydrocarbons. Environmentalists strongly oppose shale-gas extraction due to fears that fracking may contaminate water supplies, the oil-sands industry because it is enegry-intensive and dirty, and deep-water drilling because of the risk of oil spills like last year's Gulf of Mexico disaster.There are financial considerations, too. While conventional assets are relatively easy to develop and historically have offered good returns, projects in some more technically difficult sectors—like deep-water and LNG—typically take longer to bring on-stream, and are higher cost, meaning returns are lower.But there is an upside for the majors. The silver lining is the shape of the profile of these projects, which is different than conventional ones, says Simon Flowers, head of corporate analysis at Wood Mackenzie. LNG ventures, for example, can deliver contract levels of gas at a steady rate over 20 years. So the returns may be lower, but overall you have a more dependable cash-flow stream, he says.By pursuing these nontraditional fuels, the oil companies are committing themselves ever more deeply to the wealthy nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Wood Mackenzie says $1.7 trillion of future value for all the world's oil companies—52% of the total—is in North America, Europe and Australia. The consultancy has identified a significant westward shift in oil-industry investment, away from traditional areas like North Africa and the Middle East towards the Brazilian offshore, deepwater oil in the Gulf of Mexico and West Africa and unconventional oil and gas in North America. And then there's Australia, far out east, which is in the early stages of a spectacular growth phase. Consider Shell. Seven years ago, the oil giant, synonymous with turbulent hot spots like Nigeria, decided to shift resources to more-developed nations that offered a friendly environment for investors and predictable tax regimes. Shell used to split spending on the upstream—the basic business of exploring for and producing oil and gas—roughly 50/50 between nations in the OECD and those outside of it. It's now 70/30 in favor of the OECD, with the bulk going to Canada, Australia and the U.S. The risks in OECD are technical, but they're easier to manage than political risk, says Simon Henry, Shell's chief financial officer. In the OECD, you have more control of your operations. With the new turf comes a new focus: Shell will soon be producing more natural gas than oil. That might have scared investors a decade or two ago. But with gas demand set to grow strongly, especially in Asia, the future for gas-focused companies is looking increasingly rosy—especially after the Fukushima disaster, which prompted a rethinking of nuclear power in Japan and elsewhere.Entrenching Its PositionLike Shell, Exxon Mobil Corp. is entrenching its position in the Americas, home to just over half its resource base. Its unconventional resources have grown by almost 90% over the past five years to 35 billion oil-equivalent barrels—partly thanks to its 2010 acquisition of XTO Energy, a big shale-gas player. Exxon's U.S. unconventional production alone is expected to double over the next decade.Some giants are looking further afield. Chevron Corp.'s three focus areas—the parts of the world that account for the bulk of its exploration budget—are the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, offshore West Africa and the waters off western Australia.In particular, the company has staked out a huge position in Australian natural gas; its Gorgon LNG project in Australia is one of the world's largest. The push is based on expectations of surging demand for the fuel in Asia, largely in China, which wants to improve air quality in its heavily polluted cities by switching from coal to gas in power generation and running more commercial vehicles and buses on natural gas.It wasn't a conscious decision to move into the OECD, says Jay Pryor, head of business development at Chevron. The company doesn't decide what projects to pursue based on where they are in the world, but on the quality of the resource, the commercial terms and the geopolitical risk. The best rocks with the best terms are going to get the quickest investment, he says. Money has flowed into the U.S. and Australia because they offer the best incentives to oil companies, he says.In recent years, Chevron has also expanded into another promising part of the OECD—Europe, which some estimates suggest has shale-gas reserves comparable to those in the U.S. Chevron has picked up millions of acres of land in Poland and Romania, where it will soon be drilling for shale gas. That's part of a wider trend: Dozens of companies are now exporting to Europe technologies used to open up shale deposits in the U.S.Holding BackNot all oil companies have piled into unconventionals the way Shell and Chevron have. BP, for one, has far fewer investments in tar sands and shale gas than its peers, though it has an unrivaled position in deep-water oil. That means it has less of a presence in the OECD than Shell: Its biggest projects are in poorer countries like Angola, Azerbaijan and Russia, and in recent years it has won a string of licenses and contracts in India, Iraq, Egypt and Jordan.Yet even BP has been bolstering its position in the OECD. It said recently it was pressing ahead with a a34.5 billion ($7 billion) investment in the North Sea's Clair oil field, part of a five-year, a310 billion program.Still, being in the OECD doesn't guarantee oil companies an easy ride. Operators in the North Sea were shocked earlier this year when the U.K. government suddenly increased taxes on oil producers. In France, authorities recently banned hydraulic fracturing. And in the U.S., the drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico, imposed after the Deepwater Horizon blowout, threw many of the majors' plans into disarray.But still, for the most part, the risks are much greater in the non-OECD. The majors went to Venezuela and lost their property, says Ms. Myers Jaffe of the Baker Institute. They went to Russia and had to whisk their CEO off to a safe house. They went to the Caspian and realized they couldn't get the oil out. I for one would much rather invest in a company that had 70% of its spending in the OECD. Mr. Chazan is a staff reporter in The Wall Street Journal's London bureau. He can be reached at .
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