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2018 at a glance

Message from the CEO

Bouwinvest celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2018. In this period, Bouwinvest has evolved from a project developer into an asset manager, fund manager and ultimately into an international real estate asset manager.

This anniversary year was a good year for us. We recorded a return on invested capital of 12.4% in 2018, making last year the fourth year in a row that we have reported double-digit returns. In 2018, we also passed the € 11 billion mark in terms of invested capital and we signed transactions worth € 1.6 billion, twice as much as in 2017. This included € 853 million in investments outside the Netherlands.

Our investments last year included rental homes in Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo, Shanghai and Paris, together with The Spiral office building at Hudson Yard, New York. In the Netherlands, we added a number of projects to our pipeline, including the Sluishuis in Amsterdam-IJburg and the Central Park office building next to the Utrecht central station. We were able to expand our pipeline to € 1.8 billion, while adhering to our quality and return criteria. We also attracted a number of new clients last year, taking our total to 22 clients, who committed a total of € 759 million to our funds in 2018.

This growth demands a lot from our organisation, which is why we devoted a great deal of attention to recruitment in 2018. Despite fierce competition on the labour market, we managed to fill all our vacant positions last year, and increased our total workforce to almost 170 FTEs.

One significant development last year was a new urgency in the call to increase sustainability from all sections of society. As part of this effort, Bouwinvest contributes to four of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Good Health and Well-being, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth and Sustainable Cities and Communities. We made solid progress on these fronts in 2018. No less than 78.7% of our invested capital qualifies as sustainable investments. 

Last year, we were surprised by the Dutch government’s announcement that it was considering the abolition of the Fiscal Investment Institution (FII) regime for real estate investment companies. A number of sector organisations lobbied against this move, in view of the value of the FII regime for investment in Dutch real estate. Bouwinvest is relieved that the government abandoned these plans and that we can continue to invest in the future of the Netherlands.

A rapidly changing society, with change driven by urbanisation, social-demographic developments, internationalisation, energy transition and technology, has a major impact on the use of real estate. Our motto for the coming years is therefore Move up to the Next Level, with the key priorities being client orientation, sustainability and international growth. A new ambition deserves a new name: Bouwinvest Real Estate Investment Management has been changed to Bouwinvest Real Estate Investors.

Looking to the future, we expect the value increases in real estate to level off going forward. Steadily increasing interest rates, more moderate macro-economic forecasts and political factors could all have an impact on the investment climate. We will therefore have to take into account lower returns than we have seen over the past few years, but we still believe that a return of between 5% and 7% is feasible, barring unforeseen circumstances. So even in these circumstances, real estate is a good match with the long-term expectations of pension funds and insurance firms.

Last year ended rather turbulently with the announcement of the resignation of the full Supervisory Board in December. We would like to thank the board for its constructive supervision over the past few years. The Supervisory Board will resign as per 18 April 2019. In the meantime, we are close to appointing a new Supervisory Board. In addition, I would like to thank our clients for their trust in Bouwinvest. And, just as importantly, I would like to thank all our employees for their commitment, cooperation and dedication over the past year.

Dick van Hal, CEO and statutory director

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