Q+A: Nick Preston on building Panattoni’s investment management business

What excited you about the opportunity to build an investment management business at Panattoni?

Panattoni has been partnering with investors on a deal-by-deal basis for many years so it is a natural progression to have in-house investment capabilities, with more capital under group control. There was no captive money prior to Panattoni Investment Management being established.

Partnering up Panattoni’s development business across Europe with the stability and the more cautious approach of institutional investors felt like a really interesting challenge for me.

There’s always this slight love-hate relationship between investors and developers – with the development side perceived as quite risky and many investors seen as wanting to avoid risk. So it’s about connecting the returns that developments can provide with a low-risk approach for those more risk-averse institutional investors.

Panattoni is carrying out a 77,000 sq m speculative development near Magdeburg in Germany

Things are progressing very well, even in the few months that I’ve been here. The rationale behind setting up the business was driven by investors saying: “We would like Panattoni to have a discretionary fund management platform we can invest with.” Fundamentally it’s about broadening the number and type of investors, who can invest alongside Panattoni, and grow the Panattoni development business across Europe.

What type of investors are you targeting?

I am targeting a range of investors who are not currently serviced by Panattoni –  whether it’s smaller investors, who might come into a pooled fund structure, or larger investors, who don’t have the deal execution capability or the portfolio management capability in-house. So they’re looking to outsource that into a discretionary, or sometimes non-discretionary, investment management service.

We are already in discussions with North American, European, Far Eastern and Australian investors. Some talks are in advanced stages.

So will you offer these investors a wide range of investment products?

Yes – from separate managed accounts to joint ventures and pooled fund structures. The logistics market remains well placed and investor demand is there. We have the ability to develop assets and then hold them long term on behalf of investors. So we’re able to bring together development and long-term, stabilised core strategies.

“We will be growing the business this year in terms of headcount and we’ve got a number of opportunities coming in. We’re hopeful that we will be up and running in due course this year”

We will be growing the business this year in terms of headcount and we’ve got a number of opportunities coming in. We’re hopeful that we will be up and running in due course this year.

Will you target acquisitions of both standing assets and developments?

Absolutely. We are keeping our options open. The reality is that we expect a majority of the acquisitions to come through the Panattoni development pipeline. It’s very significant, with exposure to all the major European markets and some minor markets as well.

Panattoni Park Arboga in Sweden Panattoni Park Arboga in Sweden

Access to product is one of the key selling points that we have through our investment management platform. And it’s meeting demand from investors whom we were not able to service appropriately before Panattoni Investment Management was established. They know that we operate in the best markets and build very high-quality, green assets. That’s what they want.

Which markets will you target?

I’m generally country-agnostic. However if you were to ask me today for a long-term investment strategy, I’d be focusing on the core markets, with supply-demand imbalance from the land perspective and strong tenant demand. But there are also more adventurous strategies. We’ll be looking at some of these other markets where the supply side is more relaxed but where you get higher returns, such as Hungary and Slovakia. That may well be more for a develop-and-sell strategy rather than a develop-and-hold strategy.

We’ll always favour the very deep and supply-constrained markets, such as Germany, the Netherlands, the UK – and also prime markets in France, Spain and Italy. And within any country there are better regions and less good regions. You look at the UK and say: “The UK is brilliant” but no one’s going to be investing in logistics in northern Scotland. It’s the same in Germany and it’s the same in the Netherlands. So it’s also about looking at the fundamentals of the asset, the demographics and the infrastructure.

But will you still offer country-specific strategies?

Absolutely. One of the benefits of the big platform is that in any of these core markets, we will be able to provide a solution. If we wanted to just do a Nordic strategy, our teams in Denmark and Sweden would be able to deliver that.

What do you make of the current state of the logistics market?

Those of us who have been around a little while understand that things take some time to stabilise after a correction. Inflation and interest rates are now settling, giving the market more certainty and stability, but it takes longer for valuations to reflect the longer-term, forward-looking views of investors.

However, I do feel we’re getting there. There’s more alignment in the market and more opportunities. Some vendors are more pragmatic than others. Having been talking to the development teams across Europe about land availability and pricing, there’s more acknowledgement by vendors of the big macroeconomic changes that have happened over the last two years, and hence more pragmatism in reflecting this in land prices.

The macro factors from the occupational side remain unchanged. Nearshoring is becoming a really big thing because of the geopolitical issues leading to supply chain insecurity. I was in Poland a couple of weeks ago and the Polish teams there are seeing a lot of Far Eastern manufacturers now moving their plants back to Europe from the Far East. This is driving demand, particularly in the eastern and southern fringes, because the labour costs are more appealing there. And it’s not just get the benefit of a large manufacturing site, it’s all of the spin-off businesses that are attracted alongside.

We haven’t talked about e-commerce as well but e-commerce growth will continue to be strong in Europe.

The other global, long-term trend is sustainability and greenfield developments. This, again, is prevalent all across Europe. It started in the Netherlands, Germany, Nordics, UK, and is spreading out through France, Spain, Italy, and further east into Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. The leaders of this – typically the Dutch and Germans – are seeing extremely tight or virtually no land supply or land release of green belt. I think within the next five years there will be an absolute prohibition on any greenfield development. It’s all shifting to brownfield. There’s going to be a lot of competition for that land – not just logistics, we’re talking housing, retail, agriculture.

The Southern European logistics markets have been performing very strongly. How much of a focus are they for you?

The Italian and Spanish markets are indeed very strong. In Spain, our teams are based in Madrid and Barcelona, but we’re also looking at opportunities in Valencia and Malaga. However, the fundamental drivers of the Spanish market are Madrid and Barcelona.

In Italy, we’ve got a team in Milan. The northern slice of Italy is one of the wealthiest areas in Europe per capita so we’re active there. Similarly, Rome has been a real growth market and we continue to see opportunities around there, led by occupier demand. Fundamentally, it’s all about the micro markets.

Fully automated warehouse for ViaPharma at Panattoni Park Prague Airport II Green Solutions:

BREEAM Outstanding at Panattoni Park Cheb, Czech Republic for Real Digital Green Solutions:

Fitting largest solar roof in the UK for M&S at EMDC​

Panattoni’s team developed the 900,000 sq ft solar array at the Marks & Spencer’s distribution centre in Derbyshire, making this the biggest in Europe at the time of installation. The array will generate over 5,000MWh of electricity per year and reduce the building’s carbon footprint by 48,000 tonnes over 20 years. The array provides almost 25% of the energy the distribution centre needs, making it nearly self-sufficient during daytime operations.

The Marks & Spencer distribution centre also has a solar wall that allows the building to passively regulate its own internal temperature, and the enabling work included 92,000 tonnes of concrete broken out and recycled on site.

These measures earned the building a carbon neutral certificate and BREEAM ‘Excellent’ accreditation.

Delivery of Energy Park in Kettering, UK

The extension to the existing Burton Wold Wind Farm involved the installation of nine GE 1.6MW turbines, the most efficient available when commissioned, to create a new 14.4MW wind farm at the site.

The wind farm saves an average of 12,831 tonnes of CO2 each year. In its remaining 15 years of life it is expected to save another 201,000 tonnes of CO2.

As part of this project, leading members of the team also designed a prototype for local energy generation that linked renewable energy technologies, local businesses and the local community in a virtuous circle of production and consumption.

Melissa Berry

Finance Assistant

Melissa works within the Finance and Accounts department at Panattoni in the UK. Her responsibilities range from facilitating payments for the development projects in the UK, assisting with accounting activities of all invoice reports and expenses from the UK teams. Prior to joining Panattoni, Melissa achieved a First Class BA Honours from Queen Mary University of London in History as well as a Masters in Law.

Faye Burrows

London Business Support

Faye works within Panattoni’s London Business Support team, where her role revolves around a robust administrative skill set. She ensures consistent organisation within the London office and team. Faye’s great attention to detail, contributes to the smooth operation of day-to-day activities, maintaining a well-ordered and efficient work environment. As well as this she consistently manages corporate schedules and coordinating essential tasks for all areas of the Panattoni team.

Jordan Madden-Nadeau

Financial Accountant

Jordan serves as a Financial Accountant for Panattoni. He is responsible for the accounting operations within the UK and for its projects, with a particular emphasis on ensuring tax compliance and facilitating with the audit process. A qualified member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), he brings over five years of experience in the property industry to his role. 

Grace Dignum

London Business Support

Grace works within Panattoni’s London Business Support team and plays a pivotal role in ensuring the company’s seamless operations.
Working closely with the team, she contributes to the efficient functioning of the London office while offering administrative support to various members of the business. Grace also works alongside the marketing team, where her specific function involves assisting in various UK events and marketing initiatives. 

Lydia Room

Marketing Manager

Lydia works within the marketing team as a Marketing Manager. Lydia is responsible for assisting the formulation of both corporate and scheme related material for Panattoni in the UK, alongside working with Francesca on the implementation of new marketing strategies. Lydia has a first class degree in Marketing & Communications along with a strong background expertise and practice in graphic design.

Harriet Wing

Marketing & Events Manager

Harriet is the Marketing and Events Manager at Panattoni, she is responsible for co-ordinating all events at Panattoni UK. Harriet’s impeccable organisation skills are integral to making all Panattoni events as seamless as possible. Harriet works very closely with the marketing team overseeing the consistency of Panattoni’s core values and brand positioning and that they are upheld throughout Panattoni’s messaging.

Francesca Linnitt

Head of UK Marketing

Francesca is Head of Marketing for Panattoni in the UK and is responsible for developing the corporate profile and executing marketing strategies for all the UK projects. Francesca’s role includes managing the external communications for Panattoni and bringing new and innovative marketing ideas to fruition. Francesca works closely with the Panattoni European marketing team to ensure a seamless brand across Europe and has brought many new ideas into the business.

Josh Butler

Senior Project Manager

Josh is an experienced project manager at Panattoni with over 15 years’ experience in the industry, he has delivered large scale speculative and build to suit projects across the whole of the UK. Josh has been heavily involved in large site remediation schemes over the course of his career and is from an engineering background. Josh has an extensive knowledge and expertise’s of onsite delivery.

Stephen Vickers

Commercial Delivery Director

Stephen manages the commercial delivery of our developments on a national basis and works within the project management team to deliver the high complex construction projects. He has spent more than 30 years in the industrial and logistics sectors, delivering a wide range of developments in the UK and Europe. He also has a vast knowledge of delivering sustainably accredited facilities, working with BREEAM, ESG, Net Zero and GRESB frameworks.

Owen Follett

Project Delivery Director

Owen has an impressive track record in the delivery of large scale build-to-suit projects with a particular emphasis on the delivery of industrial facilities for global automotive, aerospace and e-commerce occupiers. He has been responsible for the development of over 20m sq ft of new build industrial space in the UK and internationally. Projects include new automotive plants, aerospace manufacturing facilities, research and development centres and multi-modal logistics developments. Owen now works with the development team on a national basis in the delivery of highly complex construction and infrastructure projects.

Mark Powell

Project Delivery Director

Mark is a highly experienced delivery Director with over 20 years-experience in the industry, he has delivered both speculative and build-to-suit projects for a broad cross section of clients, ranging from aviation to manufacturing. Mark is capable of quickly assessing projects and implementing strategies to ensure all aspects of the scheme are delivered to exacting standards. A Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Building, Mark can deliver the most complex and challenging schemes.

Peter Carter-Wall

Construction Director

Peter is in charge of the on-site delivery and quality control of all construction projects at Panattoni. Peter has over 20 years experience in the project management sector and now specialises in the delivery of large-scale industrial buildings, site infrastructure & remediation. Peter has worked with the management team for over 10 years and is highly regarded in the market, with a reputation for his meticulous and diligent approach to construction management.

Simon Willgress

Project Delivery Director

Simon is an experienced member of the Panattoni project management team, and has extensive client side experience in the logistics sector, having spent 13 years working within leading FTSE 100 companies. Simon is responsible for all the technical due diligence and implementation of the development programme on his projects and brings highly valuable experience of automated warehouse developments. Simon is particularly interested in low carbon design development.

Ian Anderson

Head of Project Management

Ian is a highly regarded and experienced Head of Project Management, with responsibility for procuring Panattoni’s land acquisition, build-to-suit and speculative build programme. Ian combines his practical and commercial approach, with a keen eye for detail, ensuring that all projects are delivered to the highest standard. Ian has particular expertise in the negotiation and contract tender for large scale industrial buildings, with a background in structural engineering. In the last 18 years, Ian has gained considerable experience and market knowledge in the industry.

Tanya Thewlis

Capital Markets Business Manager

Tanya is responsible for providing operational support to the Capital Markets team in the UK. Tanya assists with the formulation of capital and financing solutions and helps to maintain investor relationships. Tanya has 20 years in operational support which offers a wide skill set that allows her to assist the capital markets team in smooth operations and client management.

Tom Watkins

UK Capital Markets

Tom is an integral part of the UK Capital Markets team and works closely with Nick Cripps, providing financial assistance and analysis. At Panattoni Tom’s role includes the preparation of financial appraisals for acquisitions, preparing investment documents for Panattoni’s capital partners and consolidating Investment Committee Reports for Panattoni’s internal approval process. Tom is a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS).

Oliver Winchcombe

Head of Portfolio Management and ESG

Oliver manages the property and asset management of the UK portfolio, working closely with the project management and finance teams. He is an experienced property manager, having spent many years with specialist property management consultancy firms, and working on behalf of large institutional funds. He is also a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS).

Indy Gill

Financial Controller

Indy is the Financial Controller for Panattoni in the UK. He is responsible for the accounting activities of Panattoni and its development projects in the UK, with a focus on consulting with external auditors and tax advisors. Indy is a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) with many years of experience in the property industry.

Scott Meakin

Development Surveyor
North West & Yorkshire

Scott is a development surveyor in the North West and Yorkshire development team. Scott has over 5 years’ experience in commercial property. He started his career in real estate consultancy where he qualified as a Chartered Surveyor. More recently, Scott has been involved in the delivery of large-scale industrial & logistics developments across the UK. Scott’s focus will be to support with the acquisition of new sites and help deliver new projects.

Ethan Greene

Development Manager
Southern England & London

Ethan is a Development Manager at Panattoni and works in the Southern England & London development team, helping to expand the business in the region. Ethan’s primary focus is to support with the acquisition of new sites and help to deliver new build development projects. Prior to Panattoni, Ethan studied Business and Economics at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, where he graduated with a First Class Honours degree.

Alex Mitchell

Development Manager
South East & London

Alex’s role at Panattoni is to deliver new build development projects and assist in the leasing of existing speculative development. Alex is focused on London and the South East region, and works closely with Anthony Watkins in supporting the national team to expand the business. Prior to Panattoni, Alex worked for Lambert Smith Hampton as a Chartered Surveyor advising a number of blue-chip occupiers on their nationwide acquisition and build-to-suit programme.

David McGougan

Development Director
South East

David has over 17 years’ experience in customer-centric, high-quality industrial and logistics development. David is responsible for the growth of both speculative and build-to-suit developments in the South East. David has a vast knowledge of the market and has a track record of delivering over £270 million of build-to-suit and speculative developments.

Gregg Titley

Head of Development
East and West Midlands

Gregg heads the development growth strategy in the East and West Midlands region. Gregg has more than 25 years’ experience in delivering projects for blue-chip customers on both speculative and build-to-suit basis. Gregg has specialised in large-scale delivery of bespoke and sustainable development facilities.

Andrew Preston

Head of Development
North Midlands & Yorkshire

Andrew has over 15 years experience in the industrial real estate market. Andrew’s role at Panattoni is to accelerate the land acquisition programme for speculative development across the wider Midlands and Yorkshire region. Andrew has a broad breadth of experience in the commercial property sector, with a detailed knowledge of the leasing and development process and is currently responsible for some of the UK’s largest speculative development projects.

Daniel Burn

Head of Development
North West & Yorkshire

Dan leads Panattoni’s Northern office, based in Central Manchester. Dan is responsible for accelerating the company’s land purchase, build-to-suit and spec build programme across both the North West and Yorkshire Region. With 20 years transactional experience, Dan is well recognised within the market, having been involved in many of the UK’s pre-eminent industrial & logistics schemes. Since working in the sector, Dan has gained a reputation for his approachable, pragmatic and customer focused approach to business.

James Watson

Head of Development
Southern England & London

James has 15 years experience in the property market and is responsible for expanding the business in the South East region. James’s role at Panattoni is to originate and deliver both large scale speculative and build-to-suit projects. In the last three years, James has delivered over £350 million of new build projects, including some of the largest logistics build-to-suit projects in the market.

Tony Watkins

Head of Development
South East & London

Tony is responsible for expanding the company’s land and speculative build platform in the South East. Tony specialises in the execution and delivery of major industrial schemes. Tony is highly accomplished in a variety of surveying sectors, with over 25 years experience. Prior to joining the Team, Tony has held senior positions in the clean-tech and waste management industry, having previously been CEO for a bio-fuels and waste-to-energy and renewable energy business.

Nick Cripps

Head of UK Capital Markets
Director Capital Markets Europe

Nick is responsible for heading up the Capital Markets team in the UK, with responsibility for the capitalisation of projects across the UK and Europe. He forms part of the Global Capital Markets network and works closely with Panattoni’s European operating platform helping originate and structure capital solutions and manage global and Pan-European investor relationships.

Oliver Choppin

Finance Director

Oliver is the Finance Director for Panattoni in the UK, overseeing the company’s financial strategies and is responsible for all financial aspects of the UK business including structuring, debt finance, deploying capital allocations, he also works closely with Panattoni’s European finance platform. Oliver has a wealth of experience in real estate finance having spent over 20 years in various treasury and accounting roles and been involved in over £7 billion of financing deals in both public and private debt markets. He is a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA).

Oliver Bertram

Head of National Development

Oliver is Head of National Development for Panattoni in the UK and is responsible for the national transactional platform in the UK. Oliver is recognised within the sector as a market specialist and is known for his personable approach to business and has earned a reputation for his commitment to customer service. Oliver has completed a number of significant industrial and logistics development projects across the UK.

Fergie Taylor

Head of Development Delivery

Fergie is responsible for managing the Panattoni UK delivery platform and has been instrumental in both establishing and guiding the Panattoni supply chain and project management team. With over 30 years of experience in the logistics sector, Fergie is recognised as one of the leading delivery directors in the market, with a keen interest in both low carbon design and sustainable development. Fergie has an unparalleled track record in the delivery of major industrial facilities and has procured an extensive range of new build logistics space for a variety of blue-chip customers.

Matthew Byrom

Managing Director UK

Matthew is Managing Director of Panattoni, representing the UK on both the European and Global Investment Committees that guide the strategies and day to day operations of the business. He also leads in the identification of new business opportunities and company investment. Since forming First Industrial in 2009, which merged with Panattoni in 2017, Matthew has continued to build on his reputation for the delivery of major development projects in the UK while continuing to grow the business.

Sara Lewis

UK Business Support

Sara works within Panattoni’s Business Support team. With over 10 years’ experience at Panattoni, Sara supports the Executive Team with the day-to-day operations of the business. Sara has developed her skill set to assist across the wider Panattoni business throughout the UK.

panattoni_wind_turbine

Delivery of Energy Park in Kettering, UK

The extension to the existing Burton Wold Wind Farm involved the installation of nine GE 1.6MW turbines, the most efficient available when commissioned, to create a new 14.4MW wind farm at the site.

The wind farm saves an average of 12,831 tonnes of CO2 each year. In its remaining 15 years of life it is expected to save another 201,000 tonnes of CO2.

As part of this project, leading members of the team also designed a prototype for local energy generation that linked renewable energy technologies, local businesses and the local community in a virtuous circle of production and consumption.

Fitting largest solar roof in the UK for M&S at EMDC​

Panattoni’s team developed the 900,000 sq ft solar array at the Marks & Spencer’s distribution centre in Derbyshire, making this the biggest in Europe at the time of installation. The array will generate over 5,000MWh of electricity per year and reduce the building’s carbon footprint by 48,000 tonnes over 20 years. The array provides almost 25% of the energy the distribution centre needs, making it nearly self-sufficient during daytime operations.

The Marks & Spencer distribution centre also has a solar wall that allows the building to passively regulate its own internal temperature, and the enabling work included 92,000 tonnes of concrete broken out and recycled on site.

These measures earned the building a carbon neutral certificate and BREEAM ‘Excellent’ accreditation.