With the full-year net profit at PLN 305 million, Echo Investment can announce that 2018 was another successful year for the company real estate development business and the implementation of its profitable growth strategy. Currently, Echo Investment has projects under construction and in preparation with the total usable area of c.a. 1.3 million sqm, or nearly 20% more than at the end of 2017. Last year Echo Investment handed over projects with more than 160,000 sqm of residential, office and retail space, including its 150th project of its history - Libero shopping center in Katowice. Echo decided to pay its shareholders an advance dividend from the 2018 net profit as early as in December 2018.
“Our strategy to build multifunctional projects, new parts of the cities, being destinations for people to live, work and entertain, has gained momentum. Currently, such projects reached over 45% of our pipeline”, said Nicklas Lindberg, CEO at Echo Investment. “Last year, we opened up the first two buildings of Warsaw Brewery and the entire project will be ready in the second half of 2020. The 4.5 ha plot will turn into great urban space with apartments, office buildings, a great food, and beverage area in the historical cellars and fully developed urban infrastructure, such as streets, public squares and green areas”.
Due to high demand on the residential market but also the increased construction costs, last year Echo focused on margin development. The company started construction of eight investments and sold 986 units, also devoting a lot of energy to prepare new projects and acquisition of plots. Thanks to that, this year Echo will start the construction and sale of projects with c.a. 2,300 apartments.
To strengthen the second pillar of its residential business, last year Echo Investment, together with a financial partner, established Resi4Rent, which will be a leading institutional apartment rental platform in Poland. At present, Echo Investment is building four projects with 1,200 apartments and is preparing to start another 1,700 units within the coming 12 months. Resi4Rent is on a good way to achieve the target of 5,000 apartments under management by 2020.
The office sector kept its excellent standing in 2018, both in Warsaw and in regional cities. Thanks to high demand for quality office space, Echo Investment started the construction and lease of four office buildings in Warsaw, Katowice, and Wrocław. In 2019, another four projects will be launched in Warsaw, Łódź, Gdańsk and Wrocław. Thanks to this, Echo Investment has about 100,000 sqm of space, which can be offered to potential clients.
In line with the strategy, Echo sold well-leased buildings West Link and Sagittarius in Wrocław and Symetris II in Łódź for approximately EUR 130 million in total. The company also signed the preliminary agreement for the sale of Gatehouse Offices - the first office building of Warsaw Brewery.
Last year was also successful in the retail property sector. Just before the Christmas shopping season, Echo opened Libero - a modern, perfectly designed and fully leased shopping destination in the south of Katowice. In the second quarter of this year, Echo opens another major retail project - Galeria Młociny in Warsaw. Prior to the opening, the investment will be fully leased to attractive brands and catering operators with excellent food. The main factor behind the success of Galeria Młociny is the unique restaurant and entertainment zone, which will occupy around 20% of its space, covering 6,000 sqm on the top floor of the project.
Echo is set to continue its dynamic development in the years to come: currently, its gross pipeline value is EUR 2.7 billion. Since the beginning of 2018 Echo bought plots of land for over 170,000 sqm of apartments and offices, with plots for another 340,000 sqm under advanced negotiations, the majority of that for residential projects.
As at 31 December 2018, the value of Echo Investment assets amounted to almost PLN 4 billion, out of which PLN 2 billion was the value of projects under construction.
“Low level of indebtedness of the Echo Investment group, which at the end of 2018 amounted to 28%, creates flexibility to quickly react to opportunities that come on the market and gives us great comfort in choosing the optimal sources of financing for development. Last year, the company placed PLN 240 million of bonds for individual and institutional investors,” said Maciej Drozd, CFO at Echo Investment.