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CBRE reports 31% revenue increase in Q3 2014

CBRE Group, Inc. reported very strong revenue and earnings growth for the third quarter ended September 30, 2014.
Revenue for the quarter totaled $2.3 billion, an increase of 31% from $1.7 billion in the third quarter of 2013. Excluding selected items1, net income2 rose 33% to $132.6 million from $99.7 million in the third quarter of 2013, and adjusted earnings per diluted share also improved 33% to $0.40 from $0.30 in the prior-year period. For the third quarter, selected items (net of income taxes) totaled $25.5 million – including $14.1 million related to the early re-payment of debt and $11.8 million of non-cash amortization relating to prior acquisitions – versus $5.3 million for the same period in 2013.

On a U.S. GAAP basis, net income rose 13% to $107.1 million, compared with $94.4 million for the third quarter of 2013. GAAP earnings per diluted share rose 14% to $0.32, compared with $0.28 in last year’s third quarter.

Excluding selected items, EBITDA3 increased 30% to $292.2 million from $225.2 million in the third quarter of 2013. EBITDA3 (including selected items) rose 31% to $292.9 million for the third quarter of 2014, from $224.4 million for the same period a year earlier.

Revenue rose by 20% or more in all three global regions. Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) achieved 25% (19% in local currency) organic revenue growth – 101% (95% in local currency) including the contributions from Norland Managed Services, Ltd, which CBRE acquired in late December 2013. Asia Pacific posted its strongest growth in 16 quarters with revenue rising 25% (23% in local currency). The Americas, CBRE’s largest business segment, saw revenue improve 20% (same in local currency), fueled by double-digit increases in every major business line.

Globally, property sales revenue surged 33% (32% in local currency) during the quarter, with significant increases across all three global regions. Notably, U.S. property sales improved 31% as CBRE executed several large single-asset and portfolio sales during the quarter, including One Wall Street for Bank of New York Mellon and a $1.8 billion multifamily portfolio for DRA Advisors and Bell Partners Corporation. Strong capital flows into commercial real estate – coupled with the continued availability of debt capital – led to a 41% increase (40% in local currency) in commercial mortgage services revenue.

Large occupiers continue to demonstrate a strong appetite for integrated real estate services. CBRE is well placed to capitalize on this ongoing trend, as reflected in 26 new outsourcing contracts signed during the third quarter. Global occupier outsourcing revenue improved 18% on an organic basis during the quarter. With contributions from the Norland acquisition, global revenue from this business line rose 61%.

Property leasing revenue improved by double digits for the fifth consecutive quarter, rising by 15% (14% in local currency). Growth was paced by an 18% increase (18% in local currency) in the Americas, where CBRE continues to make strong market share gains.

Development Services saw revenue rise 27% and EBITDA increase four-fold reflecting the focus on developing high-quality assets in markets and sectors with significant investor demand.

Global Investment Management revenue declined during the quarter, primarily due to last year’s third quarter including nearly $30 million of carried-interest revenue, which did not recur in this year’s period. Otherwise, revenue in this segment would have increased 7% (5% in local currency). Carried interest is incremental revenue that CBRE earns when it sells assets within portfolios it manages for institutional investors at values that exceed specified return thresholds. The timing of such sales is determined by the macro market environment and fund lifecycles. Capital raising activity in Global Investment Management remained strong with $9.1 billion of new commitments over the past twelve months.

The ongoing shift in the company’s business mix toward contractual revenue continued during the third quarter. Contractual revenue rose to 51% of total revenue – up from 48% in the third quarter of 2013.

During the third quarter, CBRE issued $300 million of 5.25% senior notes due 2025 and on October 27, 2014, CBRE used the note proceeds, together with cash on hand and borrowing under our revolving credit facility, to redeem in full its 6.625% senior notes due 2020 ($350 million aggregate principal amount). These actions will lower CBRE’s annual interest expense by approximately $5 million and will extend debt maturity on $300 million of its senior unsecured debt by 4-1/2 years at an attractive, fixed interest rate.

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