MIPIM 2010 Blog: Friday 19th March
19 March 2010
Hordes of real estate lawyers are in Cannes this week for MIPIM, but what are they really getting up to? Find out in our MIPIM blog all week. Latest: Tim Webb, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig Maher
15.45: Tim Webb, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig Maher
Sitting in the departure lounge at Nice, a little jaded, I can’t help but reflect again on what an unreal experience Mipim must seem to an outsider (by whom I mean BD budget holders). I still remember, at the height of the market, staring with incredulity at the sight of a bi-plane flying the length of the Croisette with a banner advertising the “value” proposition of a major law firm - quite extraordinary.
As mentioned in my first blog, it’s difficult against this backdrop, to articulate how this scenario adds up in financial terms to a “must do” event. But as unreal as Mipim might appear, particularly to the casual observer, Mipim 2010 was infused with a sense of purpose. Mipim 2010 appeared leaner and meaner than even 2009. And Mipim with the fat trimmed off is a far better place than the bloated Mipim of recent times. Folk approached this year with even more drive and focus than last. The likes of David Taylor spearheaded a smaller than usual DLA team with a punishing schedule of meetings. I bumped into Toby Askin of Wragges who had parachuted in to meet AREA on his Wakefield retail project. Mishcon’s omnipresent Susan Freeman (my fellow blogger but for Property Week). BLP’s Andrew Yates reassuring in Armani.
The Michael Stancombe/Bob Kidby dream team from Lovells did what they do best - quietly networking a AAA client list - and I really appreciated the
invitation to your party guys, just sorry I couldn’t get there. Next year !
With the Budget imminent and a general election looming I was quite surprised at how little they were the subject of discussion at Mipim. At least that was, until my dinner last night. Directors of Bio-Regional Quintain, Avanta, Matrix, Highbridge Properties, AREA and Apache Capital somehow contrived to stir a debate of incredible passion with Giles Barrie, Editor of Property Week regards what colour of government after the next election might be best for property. A discussion that quickly overwhelmed the rest of the table. In the end we took a straw poll. Labour 3, Tories 8, Lib 1, a non resident and a couple of “don’t knows”. So there you have it. Tories to win, You read it here first.
After dinner? The siren calls of the Croisette seduced my defenseless guests and me once more. But on the busiest night of Mipim, the Croisette was a
shadow of its former self; half empty bars and clear pavements. My Mipim ended shortly after 3am after bumping into my old pal Stuart
Atkinson from Colliers and some of the Henderson team. Mike Sales gave a moving soliloquy drawing Thursday evening, and indeed the event, to a close.
His audience of 5 warmly applauded before we all went our separate ways. So Mipim is over for another year.
There were no shocks (except my shoes). No surprises. No excess. There was even perhaps a gentle swelling of confidence.
Au revoir till 2011.
Click here for Thursday’s Blog
11.45: Habib Ullah, banking partner, Nabarro
Much of the chatter at MIPIM this year has been about new pipelines of investment in the UK real estate market.
The presence of Middle Eastern investors in Cannes has without doubt been lower this year but despite the financial crisis in Dubai, there is still a belief that there is liquidity to be tapped into from the Middle East. There is also a feeling that, having had their fingers badly burnt in Dubai, many Middle Eastern investors are keen to start investing again in to the European market and, in particular, London.
As the Middle East is such a hot topic at MIPIM, and one of my main areas of specialism is Islamic finance, I have had numerous discussions in and around Bar Roma, and various other cocktail parties around Cannes, this week about how one can structure certain deals on a Shariah compliant basis. The irony of where these discussions take place is not lost on me.
The London market is so adaptable and flexible, so many people who I have spoken to over the last few days are au fait with the various Shariah compliant structures. They are just as happy to discuss a sukuk, tawaruk and murabaha as they are to talk about current yields for super prime. Impressive stuff!
As the week draws to a close, many people agree that despite numbers being down, it has been one of the most purposeful MIPIMs for some time. On average, the attendees this year have carried more gravitas than in previous years and this has meant less time wasting, and the walk down the Croisette, from one end to the other, being considerably shorter.
Click here for Thursday’s Blog
9.20: Neil Sagoo, Partner Maples Teesdale
MIPIM is four days of full-on speed-dating for the property market. However one lawyer has been taking this more literally than most and was touting herself to at least one senior fund manager as ‘the tart with a heart’ - allegedly of course. Christine, you know who you are. Let me know if this presentation style works
Early on I had noticed a disproportionately high number of men, at least in the UK contingent. But the relative scarcity of ladies was brought home to me when one of my friends told me at the lunch we were hosting that two Dutch delegates had sidled up to her at the Café Roma on the assumption she was a lady from an older profession. Awkward.
Gossip aside, generally meetings have been very business-like. Delegates are pleased that, unlike in headier times, they have been able to speak to senior people and therefore make the event more effective.
And by all accounts there has been less conspicuous consumption. Less flashing of the cash. Wine is the order of the day rather than Champagne. People who might in previous years have stayed at high end accommodation (Martinez £360 pppn not including petit dejeuner) are now staying in more modest apartments or hotels.
Overall the feeling is that MIPIM 2010 has been significantly better attended than 2009 (in terms of both quality and quantity) and that although the rest of the year might be difficult for many, there is still plenty to be positive about in the market.
Click here for Thursday’s Blog
18.11: Rhodri Pazzi-Axworthy, real estate partner, Nabarro
So it’s all over for another year. On the Croisette they are dismantling the make-shift beach front restaurants, counting the takings and packing away the branding on the boats and hotels for another year.
As the hoards of property professionals sit in exhausted silence on their return flights reflecting on the past week, what did they make of it?
It certainly felt smaller - most people seemed to agree that there was more room. The stands at the Palais seemed more spacious somehow and even those parties on boats, where traditionally you have to wait on the quayside for people to leave before you are allowed on, didn’t have the usual queues. But, it felt more upbeat than last year - and not just because of the effect of the sun and a few beers on the beach (or even BoJo’s “good news sandwich”).
This year people were not just talking about deals, a few even suggested that they may have done some. The bankers, who if they were here last year kept a low profile, could be seen in strength in the Majestic, at Bar Roma and on their stands, promising to lend again (one even told me that they were keen to get back into development finance as the margins on investment deals were becoming too compressed).
But there’s still a note of caution: more money in the economy is good if there is sufficient stock to satisfy demand. Everyone seemed to agree that demand is once again outstripping supply in the UK prime market and that the London market (at least) is in a bubble. There is plenty of opinion as to whether and/or when it will bust, although most bets seem to be on sometime after the next election.