How is your real estate profile suited to Home Invest Belgium?
I studied law at Namur (FUNDP), KU Leuven and then in Berlin. I worked for Boston Consulting Group in Brussels and Paris, and then at Linklaters. In 2005, I joined CBRE. I was planning on studying at Columbia University in New York, but in 2007, given the favourable commercial real estate market conditions, I decided to stay in Belgium. Within three months, the real estate market was in crisis. In 2009, I left CBRE and founded Pertinea.
Can you describe Pertinea for us?
From the beginning, we decided to operate through funds. Today, Pertinea is involved in a variety of activities, the main one being fund management. We are operating two funding initiatives, the first of which was established in 2011.
We have been able to bring together around a dozen investors, half of which are insurance companies and pension funds, and the other half comprising entrepreneurs specialising in real estate.
With this funding initiative, we invested in out-of-town stores in Belgium. Two years ago, we set up a second funding initiative, with the majority of its assets located in the Netherlands. These primarily consist of supermarkets located in urban centres. This is why we have opened an office in Utrecht.
Is commercial real estate not suffering as a result of the current pandemic?
Our assets - which currently exceed €200 million - have hardly been affected, as we have a strong focus on convenience and local shops. More than half of our asset value is from supermarkets, which have barely been hit, while the other half is made up of stores such as Action, Extra, Brico, Tom & Co, etc., which have continued to enjoy sustained success.
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