South African Property Review March 2016

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company profile PMR.Africa three times in the last five years, the company is delivering high profile developments – including Stella Precinct, a 120  000m² multi-storey mixed-use office precinct in South Africa’s financial hub. Managing Director Matthew Renshaw says that success relies on effective skills and technology. “Because of the increasing number of complex, large projects in South Africa, professional teams are continuously exposed to new problems and challenges,” he says. “As a result, skills and experience are developed. This can only be positive for our industry as local talent leverages off internationally experienced people, contributing to local success. Technology also plays a vital role, and the implementation of advanced software solutions enables effective work flow management.”

Eastern promise East Africa Managing Director Thierry Giannone says countries in the region are experiencing significant growth in mixed-use facilities, modern office parks, and hotel space driven by rapid urbanisation, a growing middle class, high rental yields, technology innovation and sustainability with a drive towards green and open spaces. Riding the wave of this growth, Profica has recently assisted in the completion of Garden City Phase 1 and the Radisson Blu Upper Hill in Nairobi. The company is working on a number of projects in East Africa that stretch across all sectors of the market from retail, hospitality and commercial to mixed-use. Giannone agrees that local knowledge is fundamental to success. “Understanding the nuances of the local market and culture enables you to apply your skills appropriately in the development process at any stage in the project life cycle,” he says. “It is important to instil the company values and operational approach within this context to enhance existing ways of doing things. You need to know what you can influence, otherwise you will spend a lot of time achieving very little.” In this region, Profica has become adept at “rescue” projects and guided these to successful completion within an existing framework. According to Giannone, effective risk management, based on experience, is another essential factor. “Africa’s challenges include cultural differences, bureaucracy and political change. An expert with local knowledge can navigate through this,” he says. “As a company, we strive to deliver beyond the traditional project management function. We work closely with our clients to ensure that the true development potential of any

Delta Mall in Warri, Nigeria

site is maximised in terms of product, quality and return for the investor. We partner with our clients to ensure that we manage their risk from start to finish.” Profica’s green expertise is also paying off in Africa. “A shortage of readily available resources such as power and water is influencing a mind-set change around being green – with developers taking this into consideration from building to final fit-out,” says Giannone.

Go West Profica’s Nigerian operation is a success story of ever-expanding growth and delivery. “We know the region intimately as we have been operating in Nigeria since 2006, with a full-time office for the last four years,” says Managing Director of West Africa Chris Titmas. “We don’t parachute in per project. Our West African office has 10 live projects at the moment, with more in the pipeline. Some of these are projects by South African and Nigerian investors, developers or funds; others are being done by international companies such as Actis.” Titmas cites finding the right internationallevel skills and transferring knowledge as critical success factors. “Skills are in short supply and many clients appoint international consultants to do a great deal of the design and other professional work on infrastructure and building projects,” he says. “We do bring international skills and gel these with local conditions; this doesn’t compromise service levels or delivery, but is about adapting. We’ve learnt, for example, to ensure that our teams can speak the local language, and we’ve become known for our capacity in French-speaking Africa. “Profica has further developed a local team in our Nigeria and Ghana offices who are being exposed to new types of projects and international ways of working. Skills transfer is a deliberate and timeconsuming process and you have to be there, working with people on the ground.

We have been growing local talent into leadership positions over time, and we’re finding that this is really paying dividends.” Finally, says Titmas, companies that are successful in Africa must be dynamic, adaptable and flexible. “Things change on a weekly basis, so you have to be very agile,” he adds. “That has to apply to everything from the structure of your company to your resourcing and more.” “We know Africa,” says White. “Our local knowledge, company culture and investment in the right people, processes and technology continue to get the best results for our clients. Delivering at home or elsewhere in Africa enhances our track record and the comfort our clients have to appoint us in other regions. We are excited about the future and look forward to growing with our clients throughout the African continent, as they place their trust in our world class delivery. It’s a trust we know we’ve earned.”

Service offerings Profica is a leading construction and property-solutions company that provides expert development, project and construction management services to high-profile clients. We operate across many sectors on the African continent, and have built an impressive track record for global expertise, local knowledge and service excellence.


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