The third quarter of the year brought Echo Investment €8 million (PLN 36 million) in net profit, which is the result of handing over 301 apartments to clients, the value increase of office buildings under construction, as well as the apartment rental platform – Resi4Rent. The developer increases its focus on the residential sector – both for sale and for rent – which today accounts for about a quarter of the company's assets. Echo Investment intends to carry out most of its projects as part of multi-functional projects, called "destinations".
Traditionally, the third and fourth quarters are the most intense for the residential department. From the beginning of the year to the end of September, Echo Investment completed the construction of six projects in Warsaw, Łódź, Poznań and Wrocław. The developer sold 1,103 apartments, improving the result achieved in the same period last year, which makes the annual sales target of around 1,650 flats within reach.
In August, R4R Warszawa Browary, the first building of Resi4Rent in the Polish capital city was opened. This flagship project includes 450 units that are already successfully rented. Currently, there are over 1,240 apartments for rent in the completed Resi4Rent buildings in Warsaw, Łódź and Wrocław. The strategic goal is to build a platform of 10,000 apartments for rent by 2025.
Echo Investment is continuously working on the growth of its residential business, strengthening its market position, increasing its profitability and its resistance to the changing market conditions. Taking into account the new reality in which the company operates, social trends, and changing client preferences, the developer puts strong emphasis on the development of its residential business.
“Apartments for sale and apartments for rent account today for about a quarter of our assets. Due to the high prospects for this sector in Poland and the lower need for external financing of this business, it is our ambition to increase significantly the proportion of residential assets in our balance sheet. A lower level of indebtedness of the entire Group will be the additional result of this strategy,” says Maciej Drozd, CFO of Echo Investment.
The company intends to design and implement most of the investments as part of large, multi-functional projects. They currently account for about half of the projects under construction and preparation, but their share will increase in the coming years. The strategic direction is in line with the company’s business model developed in 2016, that is asset-light and more cost-effective, which has a positive effect on the company's profitability.
“It is worth emphasizing that we intend to keep our business diversified. We will maintain our strong position in the office sector, as well as remain active in the retail sector, which is the most important element that animates and makes our urban "destination" projects more attractive. We are convinced that our competence in various sectors of the real estate market is our main competitive advantage,” says Nicklas Lindberg, Echo Investment’s CEO.
The developer is perfectly prepared to implement this strategy. In recent years, it has focused on the purchase of large plots of land, where complex and perfectly designed attractive parts of the city can be built. The company has secured among others four plots from the Tesco group in Warsaw, Kraków, Łódź and Poznań, or the land at ul. Wołoska in Warsaw. In recent quarters, Echo Investment has devoted a great deal of energy to the preparation of its multifunctional projects and administrative matters. Since the beginning of the year, the developer has had applied for environmental permits or development conditions for plots of land on which over 350,000 sqm of apartments or rental space may be built. Simultaneously, for approximately 400,000 sqm, it has obtained either building permits, development conditions or a local zoning plan.
Echo Investment has office buildings under construction with a total rentable area of around 100,000 sqm where a majority of the space in either leased or in advanced negotiations. An important event in the office sector in the third quarter was the start of construction of office buildings in Fuzja in Łódź, which received a loan for the construction from Bank Pekao, as well as obtaining financing for the construction of the MidPoint71 project in Wrocław from PKO Bank Polski.
In the third quarter of 2020, Primark officially debuted in Poland. The opening of the brand's first store in Poland in Galeria Młociny in Warsaw was one of the most anticipated events on the Polish retail market.
The financial situation of Echo Investment is stable. In the three quarters of 2020, the company generated over PLN 87 million of consolidated net profit, and at the end of the period, it had cumulated PLN 440 million of cash on its accounts. Thanks to the high trust of financial institutions, in the fourth quarter, Echo Investment has already issued bonds for institutional investors with a total value of €52.8 million.
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