Serge Grzybowski, Icade

Icade is a multinational investment REIT company that is also a leader in property development activities. It invests in various types of properties including offices, business parks and healthcare. Icade’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Serge Grzybowski spoke with Leon Goldwater from Real Estate Publishers about the company’s business model and recent transactions.

Tell us about your background and about the company.

I am the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Icade. I joined the company five years ago. Before that I used to be a banker and I served as Chief Executive Officer at Gecina, another French REIT.

Icade is to a certain extent the Great Paris REIT, with our main focus as an investor in terms of geography being on the Great Paris area. We are mainly focused on offices and probably we are the sole Great Paris REIT. The current portfolio of Icade is a little bit above €6 billion.

In recent times you’ve also had a very successful financing position, you’ve raised €1.5 billion.

We successfully led a negotiation of restructuring our debts with mainly French banks in order to extend the maturity of our debts and to take benefit of the interest rates situation. We managed to extend the maturity of our debt and to decrease its cost so it was really a successful transaction.

We are strongly supported by French banks and even by some international ones because probably they are convinced by the Icade business model, the skills of all the Icade teams, as well as the quality of our stakeholders – among them CDC (Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations),which is a very strong and powerful shareholder.

What are Icade’s plans for growth in the coming three or four years?

As we are in progress of a current transaction, we are not envisaging another external operation, even though we have the skill to do that. Three years ago we also acquired Compagnie la Lucette from Morgan Stanley, so we are one of the consolidating players of the sector.

For the forthcoming years we have an internal pipeline because the business model of Icade is based on the fact that we are historically the landlord of huge land banks around Paris, with our main focus on the northeast of Paris. But if you integrate Silic in that perspective which is also the landlord of land banks in north, west and south of Paris, I would say that the next step is the fulfillment of an internal pipeline without any pressure.

We could adapt the rhythm of the new developments to the market capacity of absorbing these new developments with no pressure at all simply because as we are the owner, so we could decide the right time to launch or not to launch some developments, avoiding to launch any purely speculative operations.

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