Bloomberg News

Cushman & Wakefield Seeks Acquisitions to Boost Asia Growth

December 14, 2011

Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Cushman & Wakefield Inc., the largest closely held commercial real-estate broker, is seeking acquisitions in Asia as it aims to double the region’s sales contribution, Chief Executive Officer Glenn Rufrano said.

The company plans to increase the proportion of revenue from Asia to 20 percent of total sales in five years from the current 10 percent, Rufrano said in an interview in Tokyo yesterday. Cushman & Wakefield is currently in talks with three companies to acquire in Asia, said regional CEO Sanjay Verma, declining to elaborate as the information is private.

“This is the region that we are devoting resources to grow,” said Rufrano. “We have targets in terms of revenue growth and we will do whatever it takes to get there.”

The New York-based company forecasts revenue growth of 30 percent in Asia in 2012, Verma said. Asia may be the only market where Cushman & Wakefield increases investments next year as Europe’s debt crisis remains unresolved and the U.S. economy struggles.

“No one fully knows what’s going on in the world,” said Rufrano. “We would probably invest a little less in Europe, a little more in Asia and about the same in Americas” over the next 12 months.

Asia accounts for a third of about 1,500 people the company hired in the first nine months of this year, Rufrano said. The company, which is set to hire 575 people this year in the region, aims to reach similar growth next year, he said.

Rufrano, 61, joined Cushman & Wakefield in March 2010 from Australia’s Centro Properties Group and has implemented a five- year plan to trim costs and boost profits.

Cushman & Wakefield, controlled by Italy’s Agnelli family that also controls Fiat SpA, reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $107.3 million for 2010. In the first half, Ebitda amounted to $8.6 million, an Aug. 29 statement showed.

CBRE Group Inc., the world’s largest commercial real estate brokerage, agreed in February to buy ING Groep NV’s global real estate asset management arm for about $940 million. Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., another competitor, bought London-based King Sturge LLP in May for about $300 million.

--Editor: Malcolm Scott, Tomoko Yamazaki

Kathleen Chu in Tokyo at kchu2@bloomberg.net; Katsuyo Kuwako in Tokyo at kkuwako@bloomberg.net

To contact the reporters on this story:

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andreea Papuc at apapuc1@bloomberg.net


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