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Transparent, stable and no-nonsense, that is Corum in a nutshell, This French investment company, founded by Frédéric Puzin in 2011, offers various investment solutions in 16 countries. This geographical diversification guarantees a sound spreading of risk. “The risk spread contributes to a great extent to the stable return on investment of 6%, a target we’ve achieved during each of the past eight years,” says Edwin Lips, Head of Sales of Corum’s Dutch branch.
The Novotel at Schiphol Airport, FedEx European headquarters in Hoofddorp and two shopping malls in Zaandam and Delft – just a few examples of properties acquired by Corum in recent years. In total, Corum has invested over half a billion euros on the Dutch property market. Globally, their portfolio has a value of nearly four billion euros; currently, Corum focuses its investments mainly on the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Finland. However, there is serious interest from Canada and Australia, so Corum expects to realize further growth soon.
How would you characterize Corum?
An investment firm with experienced professionals and a large network. We are able to respond quickly to situations as we have all the necessary expertise in-house: fundraising, investment, and asset management. Due to our short lines of communication we are able to make decisions faster than our competitors. Our goal is to offer our clients the best possible return on their investment; if you look at our track record, I think it shows we have always kept our promise.
Why did Corum decide to enter the Dutch market?
There are not many property funds on the Dutch market that enable private investors to invest in various countries in such a diversified manner. There are three ways to buy real estate: directly by investing in a building or indirectly through a fund, which can be either listed or unlisted. These are usually funds that focus on one market and one type of real estate, so they do not offer much spread. Corum invests in 16 countries, in 6 different industries and in 4 different currencies, so the spreading of risk is guaranteed. And I still don’t see any other company doing this in the Netherlands. That is what makes us unique.
Could you give a few examples of Corum’s investments in the Netherlands?
Corum bought the Zuidpoort shopping mall in Delft for 40 million euros and we purchased the Hermitage shopping mall in Zaandam for 27 million euros. Both these investments build on a strong business case with a good location, stable occupiers, and the right retail mix as the main pillars. And the presence of recognized brands such as Dutch supermarket giants Albert Heijn and Jumbo means this is a nice, tangible property investment for Dutch investors. That is something we find important as well.
What is your target audience?
Due to our accessibility we’ve attracted new clients from a wide range of backgrounds. Everyone is welcome. We have clients who have just entered the labour market or could be labelled as young professionals, but also investors who are turning away from the stock market and owners of companies who want to retire in 15 years’ time and are trying to build up a solid pension. We regularly welcome new clients who sold part of their property portfolio in order to use the easy investment options our Corum Funds offer. This is actually happening more often. But regardless of the type of investor, more and more Dutch people see our funds as a good alternative for the traditional savings account.
What kind of investment funds does Corum offer?
We have two different funds: Corum Origin and Corum XL. Origin is the fund it all began with eight years ago; this fund is aimed at creating a stable, long-standing return on investment within the Eurozone. Cash flow is an important factor here. In 2017, we introduced Corum XL; with this fund we focus on the increased value of property, looking for investments worldwide (excluding France). At the moment, both these open-end funds are run by the same teams. Origin represents investments of more than 1.9 billion euros, and the investments in Corum XL are currently totalling more than 800 million euros. Investing in Origin starts at 1,090 euros and the share price for XL 189 is euros.
What is the return on investment?
For XL, our target is 5% and in 2019, for the third year in a row, we’ve achieved more than 6% – in fact, it was 6.26%. For Origin, we’ve realized an ROI of 6.25%. However, our goal is not to achieve the highest possible return in the shortest amount of time. We’ve agreed with our shareholders to create a stable revenue source and a solid return on investment – and that is exactly what that figure of 6% represents. And it feels excellent that for eight years in a row now we’ve been able to pay out that sum every tenth day of every month.
Open-end funds are a deliberate choice?
Absolutely. This way Corum Origin and Corum XL will keep on growing with the investments made by private investors. With their share prices (€ 189 and € 1,090, respectively) we’ve opened a market that previously was only accessible to institutional investors.
Corum invests in offices, shops, hotels, healthcare and logistics, but not in housing. Why?
Corum has chosen to keep all the aspects of property investment in-house and our strategy is to maintain a streamlined asset management. Rental housing requires a lot of management and this simply does not fit in with our formula. We try to minimize overhead costs in order to achieve the best results for our shareholders.
In which other countries do you operate?
We’ve invested more than 150 million euros in Poland, one of the fastest growing EU member states and a country that offers good opportunities. Apart from Western Europe we are interested in the Baltic and Nordic countries. For example, Norway – where we started investing earlier this year – is a stable, mature economy. And we’ve also got our eyes on Canada and Australia.
Asset management company BlackRock made sustainability an integral part of its investment strategy. To what extent are sustainable investments important to Corum?
Corum’s properties in the Netherlands are at least A-label office buildings, and all our buildings have a Breeam or Leed certificate. Corum is very much committed to sustainability and we really value the use of green energy and solar panels. And sustainability is also important in our sport sponsoring: we do not sponsor Formula 1, but focus entirely on international sailing races. Since 2018, we are the sponsor of one of the best-known skippers, so his beautiful mono-hull IMOCA 60 sailing boat carries the Corum name and company colours.
Picture: Edwin Lips, Head of Sales Corum Netherlands
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