Broll Nigeria is bucking the trend of a nation at present by growing and diversifying in the face of economic uncertainty
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Stuart Parker
Amid a backdrop of Nigeria’s first recession in a quarter of a century, it’s not all doom and gloom for the country’s industry elite, and in the property management and development domain, there are some who are managing to negotiate the challenges.
Broll, as one of the continent’s leading real estate operators, is one such Company swimming against the tide to an extent. While not immune to the tribulations of an economic downturn, the Company is utilising its expertise and reputation to remain as strong and profitable as possible throughout the period; placing it in a prime position to strike while the iron is hot once the situation stabilises.
Chief Executive Officer, Bolaji Edu explains: “Since July, 2015, the Nigerian economy has slowed down drastically entering into recession in 2016 and this has impacted the real estate market and indeed Broll Nigeria, but despite this we have still been able to grow and consolidate in certain sectors and services.
“As well as maintaining our position as the leading retail property manager in Nigeria we have also become a leading commercial property manager, and despite the economic downturn, our tenant rep business within corporate real estate division has expanded over the past 24 months.”
Such an unexpected and rare success story can be attributed to Broll Nigeria’s growing recognition in the corporate domain for its provision of professional real estate services. And these services, as well as the Company as a whole, have managed to consolidate, improve and diversify against the odds.
An increase in employment figures has been achieved as a result of the Company’s growing and commercial broking, and corporate real estate operations; while simultaneous investments into its financial and support teams have helped to enhance internal and external control and risk management.
Edu details the subsequent, current service remit: “Broll Nigeria operates three main service lines across property management, facility management and CRES (commercial real estate services), and we have been expanding our property management portfolio to include commercial offices in addition to retail.
“Meanwhile our facility management division has recently added a number of green-rated Grade A offices and warehouses to the portfolio and the CRES division continues to provide strategic real estate advice to multinational and large Nigerian corporates.”
Complete real estate solutions
From a footprint perspective, the traditional hub of Lagos continues to be complemented not just by projects in Abuja and Port Harcourt domestically, but also by projects in neighbouring Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Cameroon to aid international progression
Across the board though, Broll Nigeria provides leasing and property management services in a number of high-class Grade A, with more developments to come on board over the next two years particularly in Lagos.
“In addition, we are working on a number of pan-African mandates with Broll Property Group and CBRE,” Edu adds, “and even though the recession and the changing requirements of our clients is providing challenges, we have continued to ensure that we can provide complete real estate solutions, and have been ensuring that the skills are in place, in-country, to provide the services required by our clients.”
We now offer the full range of services across property management, facilities management, project management, leasing, investment sales and purchases, tenant rep, corporate real estate, strategic consulting, research, and valuation and advisory facilitation.
Edu continues: “The recession has meant that global companies are taking a more critical look at their real estate holdings and requirements in Nigeria and are looking for a more strategic and advisory service. This has been the catalyst for Broll to invest in our corporate, strategy and advisory teams. The recession has made clients more cost-conscientious and they are looking for advisors who are able to provide a total real estate solution and end-to-end services.”
Reductions in disposable income have inevitably contracted the market and especially the retail sector, but with every challenge there is an opportunity and Broll Nigeria has leveraged this trend to enhance its leisure and entertainment expertise, as well as its knowledge in industrial sector in accordance with the country’s overall diversification ambitions.
Emerging from recession
As part of these ambitions, Broll continues to invest in its operations and systems: “Broll’s proprietary facility and property management platform, ‘Broll On Line’ continues to be rolled out to our major clients across Nigeria. This helps to provide best-in-class property management and facilities management services and efficiencies, as well as cost savings for our clients,” Edu details. “We have also invested in our finance and management teams, utilising the support of Broll Property Group to assist where necessary. The use of BOL and other technology has increased as we have moved to more automated systems helping to reduce the risk of human error or mistakes.”
Numerous systems have been introduced adjacent to its BOL implementation to address risk management considerations, affirming the Company’s position at the forefront of wider industry development in Nigeria. Understandably, this philosophy is largely people-driven.
“We have in the past recruited Nigerian real estate practitioners who have experience abroad, and returned to Nigeria,” the CEO says. “Training is important and where the skill-set does not lie in Nigeria we work closely with both Broll Property group and CBRE to ensure that we are able to provide the right standard of services to our clients.
“Broll also has a long history in Nigeria of working with educational institutions and has provided facility management and other services to schools in Lagos and Ogun States.”
Embedding itself so dedicatedly into Nigerian industry, even through troubling times such as these, is what will set Broll apart from many of its competitors in the years to come. Established in the country in 2004, and representing CBRE in the country since 2006, the Company has gone from strength to strength courtesy of its turnkey service range and ever-diversifying clientele, and such differentiators become all the more important when the sector is less receptive.
“Our growth to a position as a leading real estate services provider in Nigeria provides the ideal platform for the next stage as Nigeria emerges from recession and re-emerges as an international investment destination,” Edu concludes: “With this in mind, it is hoped that in the coming years Broll will still be recognised as the leading, real estate service provider in Nigeria, and that our reach will also expand to other West African countries.”