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Interview Real Estate Magazine “Dennis Selinas – CEO of Globalworth Group – about strategy and plans”

With 20 years of working in the finance and real estate sectors, your experience is impressive. Can you tell our readers more about this? What was your career path like before you joined Globalworth?

I would think that the most interesting aspect of my professional background, which I deem worthy of sharing, lies in its diverse coverage of various financial and real estate domains across different geographical locations. My experience encompasses trading in fixed-income derivatives, advising in mergers and acquisitions, undertaking financial restructuring, and possessing a fair understanding of macroeconomics, all of which enhance my ability to consider real estate investments in a more comprehensive context.

Comprehending and assessing risk is paramount in achieving returns that are adjusted to risk levels higher than those of the market. Moreover, it necessitates staying vigilant during unfavorable market conditions. This skill also enables me to prioritize strategic elements that align with my worldview.

So as a result, you have a wide range of experience in several different asset classes for different institutions and in different jurisdictions. You have held high positions and have been involved in every part of the real estate life cycle. What has been the key factor in your success? / What makes you stand out as a person and a business leader?

In general, prevailing in a competitive and ever-changing market, especially amid the tumultuous times we have endured in recent years, demands a diverse range of aptitudes. Some of the critical attributes that have aided my ascent to a position of business leadership are as follows:

  1. Possessing an articulate and compelling vision for the future of the company, industry, and the market in which it operates is indispensable. Equally crucial is the ability to communicate this vision persuasively to the team and inspire them to work towards it.
  2. The creation of effective strategies that will propel growth and profitability or allow a company to prevail in challenging market conditions is contingent on the capacity to analyze market trends, identify opportunities, and make informed decisions.
  3. Communication is paramount, and effective communication skills are imperative for a successful leader. One must adeptly convey the vision and strategy to all stakeholders.
  4. The ability to make difficult decisions after evaluating risks, weighing pros and cons, and acting quickly and confidently is also hallmark of effective leadership.
  5. Collaboration is also imperative. The realization of success is unlikely to be achieved in isolation, necessitating close collaboration with the team. One must establish strong relationships with employees, partners, and stakeholders to achieve mutual success.

The real estate sector is a fiercely competitive and continually evolving industry. As a leader, it is imperative to navigate through challenges and setbacks deftly. By maintaining unwavering focus and optimism in the face of adversity, one can ultimately attain success in the long haul.

Globalworth’s strategy is based on three pillars: People, places, and technology. On this basis, the group wants to create sustainable efficient properties – offices where all of society (the direct building users, the tenants, and the investors) will want to be and will want to work; a place they will be proud of. Do you share the core of these values?

The vision that our company holds is to incessantly modernize its assets while simultaneously enhancing its competitive edge, thereby enabling us to emerge as the preferred landlord in both Romania and Poland. In light of the swiftly changing macroeconomic and geopolitical landscape, we are currently pursuing a meticulously devised strategy that embodies utmost prudence. The bedrock upon which we are laying our future performance aspirations rests upon the formidable achievements of our past. We are now striving to innovate in the realm of asset management and consistently augment the quality of services we offer our tenants, all while delivering significant value to our shareholders.

And how do you intend to pursue the company’s mission and vision?

The Globalworth portfolio comprises an array of properties with diverse characteristics and locations across varied communities. My objective is to unite our properties under a single brand, all while acknowledging and upholding their individual differences and conforming to the needs of tenants, consumers, and specificities of the countries in which they are situated. The tremendous rate of growth that Globalworth has achieved, and the magnitude of its impact, necessitates a colossal responsibility. Through our undertakings, we are committed to actively communicating our values and progressively building our reputation as the first-choice partner for enterprises that are expanding and seeking the finest office space solutions. This mission we undertake while cognizant that, in both Romania and Poland, we collaborate with teams of specialists from diverse fields. Together, we foster a company with a distinct vision and work toward ambitious objectives in various areas. We keep a watchful eye on the market and anticipate the impending changes to the real estate sector. As part of the digital transformation of our industry, we strive to provide state-of-the-art office spaces in desired locations, all while making available innovative technologies that facilitate ease and comfort for occupants and visitors to our buildings.

As a leading office investor in Europe, Globalworth has a portfolio of high-quality, functional, and sustainable office space chosen by the most demanding tenants so I am certain that the Globalworth team’s goals for the future are just as highly ambitious. What challenges will you take on in 2023?/What are Globalworth’s plans for the nearest future?

In recent times, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations have gained significant traction among both listed companies and corporations. In line with this trend, we at Globalworth have undertaken an ESG strategy that not only includes obtaining green certifications for 89.9% of our standing commercial properties but also caters to the expectations of all our stakeholders. This strategy is exhaustively documented in our annual Sustainable Development Reports. Our dedication to providing eco-friendly structures that cater to the diverse needs of our tenants while maintaining a positive impact on the communities we serve is unwavering.

In the present climate, having a building that is green-certified has become an imperative in the eyes of prospective tenants. Our strategy is firmly focused on developing an unparalleled and high-performing portfolio that appeals to tenants with stringent environmental standards and employees who wish to return to their workplaces. In the year 2022, we managed to acquire 47 certificates for our buildings. Our office buildings received a Well Health-Safety Rating, and in September of that year, Globalworth was granted the European certification mark “access4you” for 10 of our office buildings in Bucharest.

As a company, we have pledged to reduce our carbon emissions by over 40% by 2030 as compared to the baseline in 2019. To achieve these goals, we have adopted a science-based approach that seeks to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5°C.

And does the rapidly changing and, unfortunately, often unfavorable recent macroeconomic and geopolitical situation poses challenges for you and Globalworth?

Undoubtedly, both the pandemic and geopolitical factors have impacted our perspective as a leader in the office market. As a result, our investment criteria have become more stringent. However, the crux of the problem lies in fewer equity players investing in real estate and a decreased appetite by lenders, not only in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region but also in Western Europe.

Despite this, the CEE region still boasts robust fundamentals and offers a higher rate of return for the same level of investment risk as Western Europe, making it an attractive option for investors. I assume that Central and Eastern European countries, with their strong fundamentals, will continue to grow once market volatility and uncertainty has dissipated.

Despite the prevailing market conditions, I am optimistic about the real estate market in this part of the world. The fundamentals of the CEE region remain strong and are further strengthened by an additional factor in the form of on-shoring.

It’s commonly stated that the commercial real estate market in Poland has undergone a range of significant changes. It is landlords who are setting the trends and influencing the market while investors, owners, and property managers have to adapt their investments to the new situation. As a result office space is evolving. Can you confirm this trend? How do you see the future of the office market in Poland?

In recent years, Poland’s office market has witnessed remarkable growth, with numerous international companies establishing their offices in the country. Given its long-term favorable economic conditions (GDP growth above its western counterparts), it is expected that the Polish office market overall will continue to thrive in the forthcoming years although, in the short-term, there is likely to be a bifurcation of office market performance between Warsaw and regional cities. Poland’s economy has been experiencing a steady growth since EU accession, and this trend is projected to continue. This economic expansion is highly likely to drive up the demand for office space, as companies seek to expand their operations.

One of the primary attractions for international companies in Poland is the presence of a well-educated and skilled workforce. The availability of such a talented pool of workers makes the labour market in Poland highly attractive, and companies are likely to continue setting up offices in the country to capitalize on this talent. Furthermore, a noteworthy factor is that the office rental rates in Poland are relatively low compared to other European nations. This attribute makes Poland an appealing location for businesses looking to minimize costs while still having access to a highly skilled workforce. Undoubtedly, in the near future, owing to the current adverse conditions prevalent in the capital market and the looming threat of a worldwide economic downturn, the emergence of difficulties and obstacles cannot be discounted.

And when you leave the office then…? Is it possible to maintain a balance between your work and your private life as a CEO? Or maybe a work-life balance in this case is just an idea that collides with reality?

Undeniably, existence beyond the confines of one’s professional obligations should include work-life balance! Nonetheless, it is important to acknowledge that this is also somehow cyclical!