Bolaji Edu, Broll Nigeria Chief Executive Officer
With the Nigerian economy having grown by an average of 6.2% annually and with strong growth forecast over the next few years, the commercial real estate sector too has witnessed solid growth.
Locations such as Abuja and especially Lagos have seen the most activity.
It is against this backdrop that Broll Nigeria is celebrating a decade in the country, and today, the company is recognised as one of the leading multi-disciplinary property services firm in Nigeria.
Broll Nigeria was established in 2004 as a joint venture between Broll Property Group and local shareholders and offers property services such as corporate real estate services, commercial, industrial and investment broking, facilities management, retail leasing and consulting, research and shopping centre management.
The Group Chief Executive Officer of the Broll Property Group, Malcolm Horne points out that following the Group’s first foray into Africa in 2013 with the opening of Broll Namibia, Nigeria in West Africa was the next obvious choice in line with the Group’s Africa expansion strategy.
In the 10 years, we could not have imagined in our wildest dreams, the success of Broll Nigeria and we envision growth and success of the company going forward, points out Horne.
“We have learnt so many lessons – some tough, others insightful and yet we continue to thrive in what we do best, a passion for property.
“Our wish is that we continue to build on the success of the past 10 years and become a preferred property services firm in Nigeria with global expertise,” says Horne.
According to Leonard Michau, Broll Property Group: Director and Head of West Africa Operations, Broll Nigeria has created a respected brand in the market synonymous with the company’s key values – professional, integrity and innovative.
He explains that this however did not happen overnight. Broll took a long- term view and over the years, invested significantly in human resources, technical expertise, software, best practice based on international standards, partnerships and client relationships.
“We believe that the company is now well positioned to take advantage of the Nigeria growth story and we remain optimistic about the future of Broll Nigeria and the role the company can play in defining future trends in the real estate industry,” says Michau.
Broll Nigeria manages the award-winning Ikeja City Mall in Lagos and others as well as a number of office and industrial properties across the country.
Ikeja City Mall won the Best Commercial Property Award and Broll Nigeria won the Best Real Estate Support Service of the Year in the Real Estate UNITE 2014 Awards in October 2014.
These awards aim to elevate the standards of the industry and practice by providing an opportunity to encourage, promote and recognise spectrum of talents, achievements and excellence in the built sector.
Furthermore, Broll Nigeria was ranked number 1 overall in the Real Estate Advisors and Consultants category in the 2014 Euromoney Real Estate Survey Awards which recognise excellence in the real estate sector.
Investing in Nigeria real estate
For investors looking for the next growth story, Nigeria is the place to be at, riddled with challenges and risks as is the case with many investments, there are rewards for those who take a long-term view as Broll Nigeria has.
Bolaji Edu, Broll Nigeria Chief Executive Officer explains that the unstructured and opaque nature of Nigeria’s investment markets mean that investors seeking an entry into the country will require holistic (well-rounded) guidance from a service provider with a wealth of local knowledge and experience added to the ability to match the quality of service they are used to in the established investment markets they originate from.
Broll Nigeria has the capacity to pull in over 40 years of real estate experience in Africa, and now 10 years of experience in Nigeria.
“The transactions and projects we have worked on during this period have allowed us to refine our processes, ensuring that we provide the best quality of service to our clients.
“Our affiliation with CBRE also means that we follow international best practice, an important factor for any investor coming into a market with so much risk, “says Edu.
According to Edu, when one looks at the office market , new developments over the past 12 months have been extensive and this growth is expected to continue in the next 12 months as multiple projects commence.
In a bid to fill the gap in A-grade office space, developers have taken an aggressive stance and are incorporating mixed-use elements to give their properties a unique selling point. Most of these developments are located in locations such as Victoria Island in Lagos, the commercial capital of the country.
On retail, we are seeing a lot of developments in second tier cities with many developers wanting an early entry into these markets in order to cater to the demand for structured retail in these locations, notes Edu.
“Lagos and Abuja still remain a key interest point, however, new retail developments in these regions are being planned strategically taking location, tenant mix and other factors with a lot more consideration.”
Furthermore, Edu points out that the industrial sector remains a sector with extensive potential and similar demand but developers are not as aggressive.
The opportunity in this sector should mean that there is strong imminent developer interest, he says.
In addition, Edu says research is key for investors wanting to enter the Nigerian real estate market.
Although the country is ranked 147 out of 186 countries for Ease of doing business and 127 out of 144 for Global competitiveness, many investors see Nigeria as the next growth story in Africa.
Given its massive population growth estimated at 166 million and GDP growth of 4.18% in the second quarter of 2014, the retail sector is set to benefit as the consumer story continues to attract investors into the country.
In October, the company launched the Broll Tenant Handbook, a guide for tenants on what to expect when renting commercial property in Nigeria.
“Research is the cornerstone of business, and with non-transparency on what real estate data on some markets, it is essential to have feet on the ground and this is perhaps an area where we differentiate ourselves from the market,” says Elaine Wilson, Broll Property Group Divisional Director for Research and Marketing.
She adds that Broll’s research is tailored such that an investor learns from it and can also use it as a guide for making decisions about their investment.