EDC International Poul Erik Bech: Global partner with local roots: “We are facing an interesting future, even though the market is in a downturn.”

The many international tasks are consolidated in our dedicated international department, which was established almost 5 years ago. The department exclusively serves international investors and companies operating in Denmark or Danish companies active outside Denmark. EDC International Poul Erik Bech has a solid collaboration with one of the world’s largest real estate firms, JLL, which with its 92,000 global employees, allows us to collectively tackle tasks worldwide.

Helle Nielsen Ziersen is a trained real estate agent and valuer from Niels Brock with an RICS certification. Additionally, she holds a Business Law Manager qualification, followed by training as a coach. In 13 years, she has been a partner at EDC Poul Erik Bech, and since 2019, she has served as Director, Partner, and head of EDC International Poul Erik Bech – a department that has experienced significant growth ever since. On December 31, 2022, Helle turned 60, celebrating an impressive 40 years in the commercial real estate industry. A milestone that few achieve.

Who is EDC International Poul Erik Bech, and how do you assist customers?
Helle Nielsen Ziersen says: “We are a department, that works across borders and offers full-service solutions to international investors and foreign companies in Denmark. How we specifically help costumers can vary depending on the costumers needs and experience. Our collaboration with JLL is very good. We also assist Danish companies, that has real estate activity abroad, whether it is transactions or leases. We don’t assume to have knowledge of the local market or regulations, but we consult with the Danish company and address its challenges in collaboration with JLL’s experts in the local area.

“For example, we handled a case for a Danish company in Poland, which we received through our local EDC Business Center in Kolding. The customer was experiencing difficulties negotiating their way out of a lease agreement. Such a case cannot be directly resolved here in Copenhagen, as we are unfamiliar with Polish legislation. This is precisely where our collaboration with JLL comes into play. It is generally, a fruitful collaboration that provides both with a wide range of tasks. “

“We assemble a team where there is always at least one person who speaks the same language as the customer and is available at the same time. Based on JLL’s size, we can reach almost the entire world. This provides us with tremendous support when solving such cases. We are truly a global collaboration partner with local roots. “

What is currently in high demand?
“You cannot define it in general because customers are essentially looking for everything. Twenty years ago, all work with international clients would take place in Copenhagen and potentially in Aarhus, but today we receive requests for properties all over the country. We assist everything from SMEs to some of the world’s largest international companies, so we need to be adaptable to change and ready to handle many different inquires from various customers at many different levels. This always makes the tasks interesting and challenging but also particularly rewarding when we successfully resolve them.”

“One thing that is especially in demand is ESG and sustainability, which is increasingly gaining ground in most companies. The taxonomy directly or indirectly affects all of us, and generally, international clients are significantly ahead in terms of their sustainability requirements compared to Denmark. International tenants increasingly want to see reports from property owners when leasing a property’s sustainability profile – otherwise, the landlord risks losing the property’s sustainability classification. For investors, the investment profile is greener than before or focuses on properties where one can buy a “gray” property at a better price and gradually transform it into a green profile over time. “

Sustainability is a business area like any other. It is here to stay, and thus, I have found it necessary not only to talk about it but also to acquire the necessary knowledge in the field. I am doing so by pursuing a mini-MBA in sustainability. We need to be able to advise our costumers on a green profile with even greater precision. In this way, we indirectly contribute to influencing the footprint of many companies both nationally and globally.”

How does the future look for the international department?
“The market has struggled after Covid19, and most anticipate that we will have to get through 2024 as well, before the market turns around. The Nordic market has been affected by Sweden’s need to refinance its properties, which they do through bonds, and many of these need refinancing now. As a result, Swedish properties have experienced a considerable price drop, and it can be challenging for many to understand why Danish properties have not similarly decreased in value. When we receive these inquiries, we make a concerted effort to inform or share knowledge. We recently conducted a webinar together with our investment department to focus on interest rates, inflation, and, most importantly, Danish mortgage credit.”

“In many years, we have seen the development coming – we have observed and kept track of the rise in interest rates. So, we can have peace of mind even though the real estate market fluctuates, as it always will. But it is also a matter of perspective. A logistics property could have been sold with a yield of 8-9% 15 years ago. Today, it is traded at around 4%. If it were to be traded at 4.75% today, it is still an excellent price compared to the market in the past. I certainly believe we are heading towards a bright future, even though the market is currently in a downturn. EDC International Poul Erik Bech, has experienced significant yearly growth for the past 5 years, and we certainly expect that trend to continue.”

And last but not least, congratulations on your more than 40 years in the industry…
“Thank you very much. I feel incredibly fortunate waking up each day, excited for what lies ahead. Then I know for sure that I have chosen the right profession. There have been plenty of challenges over 40 years in the real estate market. I have been really privileged to meet dedicated and skilled clients, colleagues, and business associates who are devoted to what they want and believe in. I have been focused on putting myself in the customer’s shoes, and I have been exceptionally fortunate to be in the right places at the right times, however I’ve always been able to reflect on my actions and do my best. One must not make the mistake of thinking that just because one has spent a lifetime in the industry, they cannot learn something new. Similarly, I believe we have an obligation to pass on our knowledge to the coming generations.” concludes Helle Nielsen Ziersen.

Helle Nielsen Ziersen

Partner, Director, Head of International Relations, MRICS, MDE
Phone: +45 58588717
Mobile: +45 40999946
E-mail: hni@edc.dk