Atalian Global Services is one of the largest Facility Management providers in the world, with more than 75 years of experience. The company entered the Romanian market in 2006, boosting its operations and portfolio through the acquisition of MT&T Property Management in 2016.
What is Atalian's footprint in Romania and how does this market fare in comparison to other markets in the CEE region?
Atalian is indeed a wide spread company, present in 35 countries and with around 137,000 employees. In the past few years, the Romanian subsidiary performed extremely well and in 2020 we had a turnover of EUR 14 million. We have 450 direct employees and we manage over 50 properties spread across 1.8 million sqm, in various real estate sectors: offices, industrial, retail, and residential.
The trait that defines Atalian Romania is the loyalty of our clients. We have contracts that are 23 years old! Things are similar when it comes to our internal set up - we have developed a strong organizational culture and we typically work with younger employees, nurture and help them grow professionally, which keeps them inside the company for the long term.
When talking about the real estate segments you cover, is there one that is more prominent that the others?
We work prominently in the office sector, in Bucharest we manage around 40 office buildings. In the past few years we also penetrated the industrial market where we work with factories, as well as the retail market. As a novelty, in our portfolio you can also find private schools now.
In the context of the global pandemic, what were the challenges Atalian Romania had to face?
Evidently, 2020 was an atypical year for everyone, and I think that 2021 will pose its challenges too. On a personal level, I was kind of shaken by the events, but as a professional team we managed to keep things in place and we registered a bigger turnover than in 2019. One of the main reasons for this performance was our flexibility. We adjusted the prices in accordance to our clients’ needs and we introduced new cleaning services that fitted the pandemic context.
In the past, cleaning was seen more as a minor service but in 2020 its importance became evident to all property owners. Disinfection definitely became a central part of all the jobs we did last year: nebulization, temperature control, UV lamps, etc. To better adapt to the clients' needs, we applied in-house methods, but we also collaborated with trustworthy companies in the field.
The industrial and logistics sector did very well in the past year, has this growth been reflected in your portfolio structure as well?
We definitely can benefit from this sector. Our strategy is to consolidate the office sector but also grow our footprint in the industrial one. The latter seemed relatively difficult in the beginning but we see good opportunities there and at the moment we are engaged in a number of auctions. We offer corporate services and property management too, so, bottom line, we are open and willing to work in all segments going forward.
What role does technology play in facility management, how important is it in your business sector?
Technology is definitely important in facility management. The cleaning sector can benefit from robots and machines that make work faster and more efficient, although there are some logistic limitations (such as stairs, small spaces, etc.).
Software solutions have become more important as well. Six years ago, we studied all the software options available on the market and we discovered that it's difficult to implement new features, because facilities management is an ever changing and particular sector. So we built our own software program together with Protoss Solution. This soft links tenants' requests to landlords, and it ultimately sends out the information to the problem-solving workers making things easier for everybody.
Speaking of the Romanian market at large, do you consider now is a good time for new players to invest in the real estate market?
From my perspective yes, it is a good place to be in. The Romanian market has plenty of opportunities for new players, including in the facility management sector as it can still accommodate fresh companies. Of course, the real estate market went through changes in the past one and a half years, but I strongly believe that the future offers great opportunities for investors.
Taking a look into the near future, what are Atalian Romania's plans for the next three years?
In short we want to maintain and enhance our position as a trend setter. Atalian Romania will definitely be more influential in the next three years and our portfolio will include an even more varied range of clients.
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