21 July 2016 – Expansión
The vacant building manager VPS (Vacant Property Specialists), which is headquartered in London and which has been controlled by PAI Partners since 2014, has set its sights on Spain to target its growth. The multi-national company, which has been managed by David Taylor-Smith since May of this year, recorded turnover of €300 million in 2015 and considers that the Spanish market has the most potential for growth in Europe. It has prepared a plan to position VPS as the market leader in the country. Moroever, at the international level, it plans to triple its revenues over the next four years.
The company has hired Oscar Aragón to be its new CEO in Spain – he has previously worked for firms including Compass Group, Sotkon, ISS and Gas Natural – with the aim of making VPS the market leader.
According to Aragón, “until now, no companies in Spain have been dedicated exclusively to the management of vacant properties”. And, yet, there is significant demand for these types of services, “given the volume of assets that are still owned by the banks and that are not being used, for example”, explained the executive.
Property developers also require their services: “In a property development, if there are squatters, even in just one of the properties, then it makes it very difficult to sell the rest”. The disused buildings and homes may be closed, sealed off or protected “in a rudimentary way” or under the supervision of a professional company. In addition, he added, many financial institutions and large real estate companies prefer to work with a single company that can handle all of their properties across the whole of Spain, rather than with small local firms.
The headquarters of VPS’s Spanish subsidiary is located in Cornellà de Llobregat (Barcelona) and the firm also has offices in Madrid, Sevilla and Valencia. Aragón said that the company’s growth plans include opening offices in at least twelve provincial capitals, as well as increasing the workforce from its current size (50 people) to 150 within the next year.
Its aim is to grow both organically and through the acquisition of small companies. “We can expect to see a process of consolidation in the sector”, predicted the executive.
Original story: Expansión (by M. Anglés)
Translation: Carmel Drake