Sonae Sierra starts ‘new chapter’ in management and strategy

  • ECO News
  • 18 October 2021

The company has remodelled the executive committee with new faces and functions, is investing in property investment management and is expanding into sectors other than retail.

More diverse, adapted to the new strategy, reinforced with an increased investment vehicle management capacity and complemented with business transformation competencies. This is how Sonae Sierra presents its new executive committee, which will continue to be headed by Fernando Guedes de Oliveira.

Luís Mota Duarte accumulates CFO position with the Investment Management area; Alexandre Fernandes becomes head of Real Estate Asset Development Cristina Santos takes on the leadership of Property Management and Leasing; while Jorge Morgadinho leads Reify, the business unit created this year to provide transversal services of creation, renovation and improvement of spaces.

Ana Guedes de Oliveira leads the Asset Management area, focused on preserving and creating real estate value in the portfolio of shopping centres in Europe; Joaquim Pereira Mendes remains responsible for Legal, Tax and Compliance; and Inês Drummond Borges, Worten’s former marketing director for Portugal and Spain, joins the team as Chief Transformation Officer (CTO), as the face of the cultural, commercial and digital transformation process.

“Creating a team dedicated to investment management confirms our focus on this avenue of growth, central to the new strategy, making the most of the international experience we have in this area. At the same time, the new Transformation Office guarantees we will imprint the dynamics of change necessary for this new cycle, facilitating a joint and transversal execution across business units,” explains Fernando Guedes Oliveira.

In a press release, the company announces the beginning of a new cycle in terms of talent, but also with a renewed strategy. First, it bets on the real estate investment fund management business, which “will allow us to expand the creation of vehicles designed according to the preferences of each partner, leveraging the experience accumulated throughout 30 years in real estate, with institutional and private investors.”

The second axis of the new strategy concerns the enlargement of the real estate development activity to “sustainable and differentiating urban projects”, which integrate different real estate uses (residential, offices, leisure and commercial). Through Reify, which in March replaced Sierra Development Services, the company plans to “reinforce the development of real estate services for urban spaces of the future, in the context of the new experiences projected for the cities and of the European Union’s Green Agenda.”

Finally, the company 80% owned by Sonae SGPS and 20% by the British company Grosvenor says it will focus on “creating differentiating and multichannel experiences in the shopping centres under management, adding value for consumers, tenants and partners, and expecting digitalisation and sustainable consumption trends in this market.”

Fernando Guedes de Oliveira said that “the conclusion of the biggest transaction in our 30-year history, with the creation of Sierra Prime in 2020, represented a strategic turning point”. In a partnership for 15 years, the company announced last year the establishment of a €1.8 billion strategic joint venture with APG, Allianz and Elo to manage prime shopping centres in Iberia.

“It is time for us to start a new chapter. We will leverage our real estate know-how to serve new markets and new clients, both by managing investment vehicles and by expanding activity into real estate sectors beyond retail. Our international presence will serve to create the best sustainable and multichannel consumer experiences in the shopping centres we manage, capitalising on emerging trends in different parts of the world.

With Cláudia Azevedo as Chair of the Board of Directors, Sonae Sierra currently has four development projects and one expansion project. It manages or markets 124 real estate assets, and owns 27 shopping centres, with a market value of about seven thousand million euros.

The Maia-based company, which ended 2020 with a negative net profit of €42 million (vs. a profit of €60 million in 2019) also manages eight investment vehicles for institutional and retail investors, worth €5 billion in Open Market Value (OMV).