Altus Group Limited

The Toronto real estate services company followed its clients into international markets, then expanded its products and services through strategic acquisitions, becoming a one-stop shop for commercial real estate companies worldwide.

Toronto real estate service company Altus Group Limited (Altus Group) is expanding globally by going where its customers are going – Canada, as well as into the U.S., U.K., Europe, and throughout the Asia Pacific region.

Altus Group's edge in the international arena – its global competitive advantage – is providing customers with the same seamless, consistent services they have come to rely on at home in Canada. Clients who are in the process of adding to their real estate portfolios know they can rely on consistent and objective analysis of the value inherent in new real estate, regardless of where they are investing, when they turn to the products and services offered by Altus Group. In effect, Altus Group's services and products help real estate investors compare “apples to apples," or high-rise to high-rise, whether it's in Bangkok or New York.

Technology is increasingly important for clients as the real estate industry expands in scope and reach, and leading edge technology is another important aspect of the Altus Group success formula. Its ARGUS Software, which came through an acquisition, is part of a suite of complete solutions Altus Group offers for transacting, managing, and growing commercial real estate portfolios across the world.

Identifying opportunities

The first step in Altus Group's growth strategy, and the key to its global competitive advantage, is getting to know a new market's operating environment, and here it relies on Canadian banks, international investment banks, and professional associations to provide critical insight. Then, by leveraging the experience and relationships it has developed in the country, Altus Group is able to make the decision whether it strategically wants to pursue the particular acquisition.

In fact, Altus Group has completed over 40 acquisitions in its 10-year history, giving it about 75 offices in key regions and countries worldwide. But the company isn't resting on its laurels, especially when there are still many new opportunities to pursue. When the company's first-quarter results were announced in spring 2015 – showing annual revenue growth of 14% year-over-year – Robert Corteau, CEO of Altus Group, stated in a release, “There's a global growth opportunity ahead of us."

The United States, especially, is fertile ground. “Investments in high-growth areas have paid off in the U.S., and we're making great progress against our strategy," Courteau added.

Identifying the Right Partners

The acquisition approach allows Altus Group to ramp up for further growth in a new market with physical and human capital on the ground. For that reason, Altus Group also makes a practice of keeping executives of acquired operations on board.

Altus Group's international expansion first started in 2007, when it acquired UK-based property consulting partnership Edwin Hill. In 2009, it gained ground in the United States, as well as a substantial presence in the Asia-Pacific region, with its purchase of Australian property consultancy Page Kirkland.

Altus Group's purchase of Realm Solutions in 2011 provided clients with industry standard ARGUS Software, which is important because many commercial real estate companies need to monitor and analyze their real estate investments while they continue to streamline and improve their asset management systems and processes.

Financial Advisors in Providing Seamless Service around the World

HSBC has counted Altus Group as a valued client since 2009, and it understands the value of providing customers with seamless and consistent experiences across the globe from its long experience supporting multinational clients.

Each time Altus Group has acquired a company that has a presence in a new country, or one that brings it a new offering of services or products, Altus Group is aware that HSBC is available to provide knowledge of local banking regulations, reputable resources, and a one-stop portal for all cash management needs, HSBCnet.

“The international flavor has been beneficial when HSBC and Altus Group have worked together”, says Barry Eisen, Executive Vice President, M&A, Altus Group. “Just as our clients are looking for that same consistent messaging and advice; we're looking for the same from our bank advisors."

David Ahern, HSBC's Senior Corporate Banking Manager and Altus Group's Relationship Manager, says HSBC's presence on the ground in some 80 countries and territories around the world gives it unique insights into the nuances of each of those business cultures. “HSBC is uniquely placed to be able to provide Altus Group with a single bank solution for all its international banking requirements," he explains.

“The biggest advantage we can offer our clients is a truly international banking platform," Ahern adds. “Altus Group can leverage the HSBC relationship in Canada, and easily and quickly establish other banking relationships in new markets worldwide, be it in Thailand, China, or the U.K."

Explore more about how your company can sharpen your global competitive advantage and build success around the world by reading Selling to the World: The Keys to International Business Success, a new report commissioned by HSBC from The Conference Board of Canada.

Four Keys to International Business Success

Case Studies

Source: Selling to the World: The Keys to International Business Success Report, June 2015

Note: The opinions expressed by featured companies do not necessarily represent the views of HSBC Bank Canada and likewise the opinions expressed by HSBC Bank Canada do not necessarily represent the featured company's view.

The information presented is not meant to be comprehensive and does not constitute financial, legal, tax or other professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this document without first obtaining specific professional advice. While reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, HSBC does not make any guarantee, representation or warranty (express or implied) as to its accuracy or completeness. The information presented in this document is subject to change without notice.

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