Dirk Ruppert (Pramerica) reflects on MIPIM 2012

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MIPIM 2012 Floor Plan: See where on-site services and exhibitors were located during the 2012 show.INDUSTRY INTERVIEW: MIPIM 2012 took place in Cannes from 12 – 15 March, attracting over 19,400 visitors from 83 different countries. According to its organisers, the four-day event is an indicator of global market trends and represents the ideal opportunity to meet new business contacts and generate partnerships.

Dirk Ruppert, General Manager of Pramerica Real Estate Investors (Luxembourg), attended the event with a view to taking full advantage of this opportunity. In this interview he describes to Margaret Ferns how he has seen MIPIM evolve over the years.

What is the general purpose of MIPIM?
The purpose of MIPIM has changed over the years since its inception. When it first started it was primarily a broker festival, bringing together participants from the French market looking to make deals and carry out transactions. Over the last decade is has become increasingly international, with more and more portfolio managers and other players from the investment side attending. Although I believe MIPIM is still broker-driven, it has evolved to the point where it is widely regarded today as the international show for professional real estate players and attracts the whole range of interested parties – brokers, investors, developers, architects, hotel groups, public authorities, property associations and end users. MIPIM has also become a forum whereby countries can present themselves and the opportunities they represent to the international community. For example, in 2007/2008, Russia was very much present and this year’s edition saw Qatar take a huge exhibition space.

What were your personal reasons for attending?
PREI is a real estate investment company and so it is important for us to meet with brokers to learn what transactions are in progress or in the pipeline. Since MIPIM brings together all the key players in real estate globally, it is a perfect opportunity to meet people we would not be able to meet in Luxembourg in a timely and cost efficient way.

Are you satisfied that your expectations of MIPIM were met and did you learn anything of particular interest?
Attending MIPIM is always a worthwhile venture and I will be back. My primary objective was to meet with key people and I was certainly able to do this. As I mentioned before, MIPIM is efficient. With everyone together in one place for four days we set up many meetings, lunches, dinners etc. This allowed us to make contacts and build relationships that would normally take a lot of time and money. This is extremely valuable. Throughout these meetings it was confirmed to me that, although Luxembourg remains an attractive market, it is considered too small. At this point in time investors are concentrating on the main real estate markets of London, Paris and Berlin. As such, I was encouraged to see that Luxembourg had a strong presence and played a very active part at MIPIM this year. It was well represented by individuals from the real estate sector and beyond, as well as by members of the Luxembourg administration – all making a cohesive effort to promote the country.

What were your general conclusions at the end of the event?
The real estate market differs from country to country so it is not possible to conclude that we are coming out of the crisis or not – this may be the case in some countries and not in others. What is certainly true, regardless of the country, is that property transactions require financing and as long as this remains difficult we cannot say that we are fully out of the crisis. As a result of the banking crisis the real estate market has experienced a lot of volatility over the last three years and, until this is resolved, I believe we still have some challenging times ahead. Having said that, markets are by their nature cyclical and real estate requires a long-term view. As such, things will improve in time and real estate professions will see greater demand for their expertise.

Dirk Ruppert is General Manager of Pramerica Real Estate Investors (Luxembourg) S.A.. Pramerica Real Estate Investors (“Pramerica”) is the real estate investment management business of Prudential Financial, Inc. of the United States. Pramerica’s business is the execution of real estate investment strategies, in markets throughout the world, for a global client base.

Margaret Ferns is a freelance journalist based in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. She has more than 15 years experience of reporting on business issues in Luxembourg and the Greater Region with particular emphasis on property, finance and human resources.

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