Prologis is a pro when it comes to logistics. The industrial real estate investment trust (REIT) acquires and develops warehouses and distribution facilities for some 4,500 clients including retailers and manufacturers such as MolsonCoors, IBM, and Unilever. The company owns more than 1,800 properties in North America, Europe, and Asia. Altogether, Prologis owns, has stakes in, or is developing about 600 million sq. ft. of space. The company is selective about development and usually only develops pre-leased properties. Its fund management operations oversee long-term property investments. Prologis became the world's largest warehouse REIT in 2011 when it joined forces with smaller rival AMB Property.
The 100% stock deal, dubbed a merger-of-equals, created a new entity with an expanded global portfolio. Prior to the merger, AMB and Prologis owned complementary international portfolios. AMB had a presence in China and Brazil, while Prologis had a presence in Central and Eastern Europe and the UK. The merger allowed the two companies to better serve their multinational clients.
But not all of the properties in the combined real estate portfolio were the right fit. Once the merger was completed Prologis began realigning its portfolio. In 2011 the company started selling $2.9 billion in assets that were in non-strategic markets. The money from the ongoing disposition program will be used for new development projects, particularly in markets such as China, Brazil, and Mexico. Prologis is also extending its reach into Japan in late 2012 through a deal with online office supply retailer ASKUL and a major third-party logistics supplier. The lease agreement, inked to support the expansion of these long-term customers, is for a total of about 228,000 sq. ft. of space in Osaka, Japan.
The merger with AMB marked a dramatic transformation for Prologis, which was wounded by the economic downturn. As with the real estate industry as a whole, Prologis was hit hard by the credit crunch and global recession. Revenues fell sharply from 2008 through 2010 as occupancies were down and property values and rental rates decreased. In response, the REIT pulled back on new development plans and began modifying its business to cut costs and reduce risk.
Revenue benefited from the AMB merger in 2011. Prologis reported $1.5 billion in sales that year. The boost mainly was from an increase in rental income.
Moving forward, Prologis has a long-term strategy for conservative growth. It also plans to increase its building occupancy levels. The company will balance asset disposition with selected development of new industrial properties on its land in major markets.
Prologis has also been concentrating on expanding its presence in Europe. In 2012 the company assumed full ownership of Prologis European Properties. (It had increased its stake in the European warehouse developer to some 60% in 2011.) The European market proved to be a resilient one as the rest of the world suffered through the economic recession. Demand for modern distribution warehouses in Europe remains high as booming exports in the region have helped drive growth.
Another focus for Prologis post merger is its private capital business. The company is working to streamline the division, which has about $25 billion of assets under management. It is ridding itself of unprofitable or otherwise undesirable funds.
Prologis was founded in 1991 and first concentrated on acquiring properties in the US Southwest. – less