Colliers Expands European Footprint with Acquisition of France’s AOS Group

Colliers International has just boosted its presence in the EMEA region by 20 percent--and established a notable base of operations in France and Belgium--with the acquisition of a controlling interest in Paris-based AOS Group.
Chris McLernon

Chris McLernon, EMEA at Colliers

Colliers International has just boosted its presence in the EMEA region by 20 percent–and established a notable base of operations in France and Belgium–with the acquisition of a controlling interest in Paris-based AOS Group, one of the top real estate and workplace consulting firms in Europe.

The news was announced by Colliers’ Toronto-based parent company FirstService Corp., the fast-growing, multi-billion-dollar global real estate services concern.

“It’s a good move,” Anthony Zicha, an analyst with Scotia Capital, the investment banking business of the Bank of Novia Scotia, told  Commercial Property Executive. “It reinforces their leadership position in Europe.”

AOS, an independent firm established in 1997, boasts a portfolio of 620 tenant clients, and operations extending to more than 215.3 million square feet.  The company’s diverse staff of approximately 450 encompasses commercial and institutional real estate consultants, engineers, architects and designers, project managers, and financial analysts. And the dollar signs are positive; AOS generates an average of approximately $100 million in annual revenues.

The acquisition of AOS accomplishes one of Colliers’ major goals. “Having significant operations in France, one of the world’s leading commercial property markets, has been a key priority for us,” Chris McLernon, CEO of EMEA at Colliers, noted in a prepared statement.

And the timing appears to be just right to turn a spotlight on France. According to a midyear report by KPMG, weak economic climate notwithstanding, investment in France’s commercial real estate market reached the highest investment volume for a first half-year since 2007 with a total of €12.5 billion (nearly $15.8 billion) during the first half of 2014, marking a 39 percent increase over the first half of 2013.

With AOS’s strong presence in a bevy of locations–including Belgium, Spain, Morocco, the U.K., Netherlands, and Switzerland–Colliers’ existing EMEA operations get a boost from enhanced service offerings in tenant representation, project management and workplace consulting.

“With the added benefit of being able to augment our existing operations in other markets with complementary and differentiated services, the addition of AOS takes us to the next level as we continue to grow and develop our business in Europe,” McLernon added.