CBRE Buys its Affiliate in Vietnam

CBRE Group has bought its affiliate company in Vietnam, which operates under the name CB Richard Ellis. The company has been its affiliate for 10 years and has a leading market share across most service lines in that country.

Rob Blain, chairman and CEO of CBRE Asia Pacific

CBRE Group Inc. has acquired its affiliate company in Vietnam, CB Richard Ellis (Vietnam) Co., Ltd., CBRE announced yesterday. Details of the transaction were not announced.

CB Richard Ellis (Vietnam) has been a CBRE affiliate for nearly 10 years and reportedly has a leading market share across most service lines in that country. Its services include property sales, office and retail leasing, occupier advisory services, residential project marketing, property and facilities management, project management, consulting, research and valuation.

Following the acquisition, managing director Marc Townsend and executive director Richard Leech will continue to lead the operations in Vietnam. The two have jointly managed the company since its founding in 2003. CBRE Vietnam has a staff of more than 160 people and offices in Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Hanoi.

“Although current market conditions are challenging in Vietnam,” said Rob Blain, chairman and CEO of CBRE Asia Pacific, “we believe the country has strong long-term growth potential as a low-cost business hub, particularly as its market-based economy matures.”

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1980, Townsend spent eight years in the Royal Marines. Following that, he moved to Hong Kong, where he worked in investment sales, and in 1995 he opened the Richard Ellis office in Manila. After positions with two other companies, Townsend opened CB Richard Ellis (Vietnam) in January 2003. In addition to Wharton, Townsend also attended the Asian Institute of Management, Manila; Exeter University in the United Kingdom; and Montpellier University, France.

Leech emigrated from the United Kingdom to South Africa in 1986, spending many years in retail merchandising and shopping center management there, eventually becoming a senior property manager for Rand Merchant Bank. He has a Certificate in Shopping Centre Management and an Advanced Certificate in Shopping Centre Leadership from the University of Pretoria and also a Certificate in Estate Agency.

The total CRE sales transaction volume in Vietnam peaked, unsurprisingly, in 2008, according to data from Real Capital Analytics. That figure, $775 million, plummeted to about $310 million in 2009 and hit a low of $284 million last year. The year-to-date sales transaction volume, per RCA, is $353 million.

The most significant sale so far in 2012, again according to RCA, was Daibiru Corp.’s purchase of the 18-story, 193,000-square-foot Saigon Tower in Ho Chi Minh City from Jen Development/Jentower Ltd. for a reported $67.4 million. Tenants there include PriceWaterhouseCoopers Vietnam, BNP Paribas, Daibiru, Baker & McKenzie, Mayer Brown JSM, JPMorgan Chase Bank, Hewlett Packard, JC Penney, OCBC Bank, Talisman Energy and the Netherlands Consulate.