Get help to find the right locations and conclude the optimal contract

Abroad, it has for a long time been usual to get business brokers to help find the best possible premises and negotiate the best possible lease or purchase agreement. At home, tenant and buyer counseling is gaining ground, because the model offers many advantages to companies and investors. The real estate industry is much more than sales and letting because counseling business customers take up more and more space, experts from EDC Erhverv Poul Erik Bech believe.

In the past, the broker most often acted on behalf of the seller or owner, but this is no longer the case.

There can be a lot of common sense in also using a commercial broker on the other side of the negotiation table – i.e., as an advisor and sparring partner when a company or investor wants to buy commercial property or rent premises. The model is widespread in several other countries, and it is also gaining ground here in these years.

“Abroad, business leases are typically renegotiated after a few years, and then it is natural there to have a business broker as an adviser. However, advising tenants and buyers is becoming more widespread here in Denmark. Companies are good at their core tasks, but many want to use experts for things they don’t deal with in their daily operations, e.g., finding locations and negotiating contract terms. We deliver added value for our client, but most landlords also express great satisfaction that foreign companies have local advisers who know Danish practice – this also facilitates the process for landlords,” says Helle Nielsen Ziersen, Head of EDC International Poul Erik Bech.

She adds that another trend in the Danish market for business premises is that the brokers have the right connections. “Today, many transactions take place off-market – so we have to look beyond what is publicly offered. As a buyer or investor, it is a clear advantage to cooperate with a broker with good connections, etc., brokers who know who is in the market to sell but does not want to advertise.”

Helle Nielsen Ziersen has assisted American W.P. Carey with building a portfolio of over DKK. 2 billion on several occasions of Danish properties within logistics and retail – most recently this summer, when W.P. Carey, with Helle Nielsen Ziersen as adviser, bought Coop stores for almost half a billion DKK, in which the grocery group continues as a tenant (Read more on pages 27-28, ed.).

Help with counseling

Among other recent assignments is an extensive project with rental counseling for the popular flight search portal, Momondo, which is moving to Rådhuspladsen in Copenhagen, as well as search assignments and rental counseling for the Japanese IT group Nomura Research Institute, which has established a Danish office in Ørestad. EDC International receives many search tasks, e.g., via EDC Poul Erik Bech’s business partner JLL, one of the world’s largest business broker firms.

“When a company is considering renegotiation or has decided to move to a new location, there is much to think through. It is a time-consuming process, and as experts in commercial property, we can make the process easier for our customers,” Helle Nielsen Ziersen says.

“We often see that in many companies, a COO, finance director, HR director, etc. is responsible for finding new premises. But they are already busy people and have a lot to deal with daily. And quite naturally, they neither have market insight, search tools, networks, or connections, nor are they likely to be aware of the pitfalls of entering into commercial leases. Therefore, we can help as advisers. As far as the international company is concerned, there is a Danish and an international team involved, and here there are practices and customs in different countries that must be understood and considered.”

Brokers on both sides

But what about the ability? Can brokers, who are usually the seller’s or landlord’s husband, also sit on the other side of the table?

“We always investigate the competence (conflict of interest) to see if a conflict of interest arises. But it is not different from lawyers who cannot represent both parties in a negotiation or dispute. However, it is worth remembering that for a tenant or buyer, it provides a better balance to use an adviser with market insight and local knowledge, because the other party – landlord or seller – usually always has a broker attached,” Helle Nielsen Ziersen says.

Charging stations all over the country

In the Corporate Customers department, EDC Erhverv Poul Erik Bech also helps an increasing number of customers with many different types of tasks within premises search and tenant or buyer advice.

“For example, we help a dental company that is active in Greater Copenhagen and will gradually establish itself in the rest of Zealand and Jutland. Here, there are special requirements for furnishing and accessibility. We advise Mileway, which invests in logistics, in finding and buying properties. We have also helped BHS, which carries out transport and logistics within the pharmaceutical sector, with a total solution to a complex task of finding larger locations. We found a building site and an investor who wanted to build and rent out the building, and we found a buyer for the existing property,” director Thor Heltborg says.

EDC also entered into another complex agreement this summer with Denmark’s leading charging operator, Clever, which has ambitions for a nationwide network of small and large facilities, where electric vehicles can be charged.

“It is a big task. Clever would like to have 100-200 locations, some of which must be 3,000-6,000 m2 – significantly more than the old gas stations closing around the country. We have found a perfect location for them in Aabenraa (read more pages 18-19, edit). At the same time, it is a big plus if convenience stores are nearby so customers can have something to eat, drink or shop, while the car is refueled. Clever is owned by the joint-owned energy and fiber network group, Andel and the NRGi group, and therefore cannot run these other sales activities, but can help attract customers and generate revenue,” Thor Heltborg explains.

Martin Brasholt Mikkelsen, partner in EDC Erhverv Poul Erik Bech Aalborg, is among Clever’s local eyes and ears in North Jutland.

“As a nationwide brokerage chain, we are everywhere in our local area, not just in Aalborg city center. A company like Clever needs to establish itself in many places, both with extensive ultra-fast charging stations and with some smaller facilities. The charging stations should preferably be located close to motorways, at major access roads to the cities or, for example, at shopping centers, so it is important to have in-depth local knowledge and a good local network.”

Helle Nielsen Ziersen

Partner, Director, Head of International Relations, MRICS, MDE
Phone: +45 58588717
Mobile: +45 40999946

Thor Heltborg

Direktør, Koncernkunder
Phone: +45 58588766
Mobile: +45 24214786

Martin Brasholt Mikkelsen

Partner, ejendomsmægler, MDE
Phone: +45 58587576
Mobile: +45 20671250