Current Issue 52
Broll Nigeria CEO, Bolaji Edu has inherited a company with a wealth of experience and esteem as he makes plans for even further development
Building Momentum in Africa’s Fastest Growing Economy
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Stuart Parker
Broll Nigeria continues to capitalise on one of the continent’s most attractive economies in order to diversify and extend its lead at the top of the country’s property services industry.
To ensure it maintains such a position, the globally-renowned business refuses to rest on its laurels, spending much of the first half of 2015 improving processes and procedures to optimise the plethora of services it has under its remit.
The result has been a concerted and continuous influx of investors and corporates choosing Broll as their service provider; and the pick of local talent identifying the Company as an employer of choice.
Epitomising this strategy and ongoing ambition is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bolaji Edu himself who, having returned to his birth nation from the UK last September, is hoping to instil further indigenous influence into the business moving forward, to fully leverage the opportunities that exist within Nigeria.
“I was born in Nigeria and grew up here, and I always felt that I wanted to come back to work and live in Nigeria at some stage,” Edu says. “If we look at the existing management team here in Broll, we have two South African expatriates, but the remainder are Nigerian, including four who have had experience working in the UK or the US like myself.”
Acquiring the optimum skill-sets is of paramount importance, but the local emphasis remains consistent, whether Nigerian personnel are sourced within the country or from around the world as the country’s economy becomes more attractive and more Nigerians return home to seek lucrative career opportunities.
Edu continues: “Nigeria has been one of the fastest growing economies in Africa over the past five-10 years. While a lot of economies have had a slowdown this year we still feel Nigeria has a lot of potential as it is the largest economy in Africa and the leader in the west region.
“It’s therefore an area where a lot of corporates want to have a presence on the ground, and where real estate investors are attracted by the emerging middle-class and growing consumer economy to do real estate investments here.”
To meet the demands of the potential investor entering Nigeria, Broll works hard to keep on top of industry trends and to ensure it has a turnkey service range conducive to attracting key FDIs.
The newest addition to the portfolio has been a heightened focus on the corporate and investor migration into Nigeria through a dedicated corporate real estate services division set up to advise and assist newcomers to the country.
“Broll was established more than 40 years’ ago in South Africa and has been in Nigeria for more than 10 years now, so the Group has a very strong brand name, with experienced employees working on high profile projects,” Edu says. “So when I joined in 2014, it wasn’t a case of starting afresh and throwing everything that had been done in the past away. It was more about introducing small incremental changes.”
The fact that Broll already offers a full range of services - including retail leasing and advisory, facilities management, property management, commercial and industrial broking, research and corporate real estate services - means that any improvements to the offering would have to be slight, but the addition of the standalone department attracting investors coming into the country adds a strengthened string to the Broll bow, which is backed up by a move into larger and newer office space to enhance internal efficiencies moving forward too.
All of these minor tweaks combine to make Broll Nigeria an even more attractive proposition to potential clients looking for an established operator to manage their properties.
This has been a successful business model over the past decade which has led to the attainment of numerous key projects, especially in the retail sector.
“I think that over the past year, we have mostly been looking at the processes that go throughout the company as we get bigger, and subsequently take on more clients with bigger mandates,” Edu explains. “Clear policies and procedures make sure we have the correct templates in place to be consistent but adaptable for each particular project.”
Nowhere has this been more the case than in the retail domain where Broll continues to see very strong growth in managing numerous malls across Nigeria.
Ikeja City Mall, The Palms Lekki, Atlantic House and the Airtel Nigeria HQ are just four of the extensive shopping centres and corporate buildings managed by the Company, amounting to more than 150,000 square metres of space comprising the Broll Nigeria portfolio under management.
“We also have another 100,000 square metres of mall space which will be taken on board over the next 12 months, including Jabi Lake Mall in Abuja which is set to become a prime retail destination consisting of both national and international tenants,” Edu adds. “We continue to win new business and expand our footprint across the country; maintaining our position as the undoubted retail advisory and management leader in Nigeria.”
Departmental success and growth is being seen across the board, with Broll similarly retaining 11 corporate tenant clients; actively looking for and covering 10,000 square metres of industrial warehouse space and more than 4,000 square metres of office space.
“Across many departments, we are seeing an increase in demand for our services,” Edu affirms. “I think that what sets us apart from competitors in the market and to create this increase in demand, is that we are a truly pan-African property services group.
“We were set up in South Africa, are present across sub-Saharan Africa and most of our staff are African. That is something which is a real selling point for us.”
Plans to expand and develop on the continent even further stands the wider Broll Property Group in great stead, which will no doubt continue to filter down into Nigeria’s operations to capitalise on what is already the largest property footprint in sub-Saharan Africa.
“I’d like to think that over the next few years, Broll will extend its lead as a real estate property services provider in Nigeria and that we will expand our footprint further, including the growth of offices outside of Lagos,” the CEO concludes. “We want to be the first choice for real estate investors coming into Nigeria, first choice as property advisors, and first choice as advisors for corporates looking to come into Nigeria.
“I think from all of these stances, we are the only company able to provide a full end-to-end service for clients looking to enter the country.”