Kungsleden was founded during the property crisis in the 1990s, was listed on the stock exchange in 1999 and, after a clear strategy change in 2013, has developed into one of Sweden’s leading long-term real estate companies with an Investment Grade rating from Moody’s.
About 90 per cent of the company’s property holdings are located in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Västerås – four locations with strong growth and high demand for premises. Kungsleden also runs a number of investment projects and is a financially stable company with good prospects.
Real estate crisis and stock market launch
Kungsleden’s story began when Sweden was hit by a serious financial and property crisis in the early 1990s. The crisis included a significant real estate value collapse, which led to the banks possessing property holdings that they wanted to get rid of.
Gota Bank (which for a few years in the 1990s was one of Sweden’s five major banks) was hit hard by the crisis. The bank’s unsecured receivables were therefore placed in a subsidiary with a real estate company that was assigned the task of managing the bank’s mortgage property. And so Kungsleden was born.
In 1997, the company was bought by institutional investors and two years later the stock was listed on the stock market. At that time, Kungsleden owned properties worth SEK 5 billion.
High transaction rate and new strategy
At the beginning of the 2000s, Kungsleden’s focus was to expand within social properties. Realia and the Nordic Modular Group were acquired and half of the subsidiary Hemsö was sold. Following the acquisition of an office portfolio in Västerås, the Board decided in 2013 to adopt a more long-term focus.
A new strategy was developed focusing on long-term ownership, active management, refinement and development of commercial properties in selected growth areas. This became the starting point for the emergence of today’s Kungsleden with the vision to create attractive and sustainable places. Biljana Pehrsson became CEO the same year.
Geographic focus with an emphasis on offices
Between 2013 and 2019, acquisitions worth SEK 17 billion and divestments amounting to SEK 7 billion were made with the aim of creating a geographically focused portfolio primarily including high-quality office properties. The focus is on growth markets in Sweden – with an emphasis on Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Västerås.
The quality and value of Kungsleden’s properties have also been enhanced through ambitious development projects driven by tenant needs and market trends.
In 2018, the new stable and long-term Kungsleden was well-established. Since then, Kungsleden has continued to fine-tune, develop and refine its property portfolio while increasing focus on operations, management and customer relations. In 2019, a decision was made to establish its own operating organisation, and in the same year Kungsleden was upgraded to Investment Grade by the rating agency Moody’s, partly because its loan-to-value ratio in 2019 had been reduced to 46 per cent.
- The company was formed to manage the former Gota Bank’s property portfolio.
- Kungsleden was listed on the stock exchange in 1999 and had a diverse portfolio worth about SEK 5 billion.
- The company’s focus was primarily within social properties.
Realia and Nordic Modular Group were acquired. These companies and Hemsö was later sold.
- An attractive portfolio of office and industrial properties in Västerås with ABB as the main tenant was acquired.
- The Board of Directors decided on a new strategy focusing on long-term property ownership.
- Biljana Pehrsson was appointed CEO.
- A portfolio of properties primarily in Stockholm and Gothenburg was acquired for SEK 5.5 billion from GE Capital Real Estate.
- An office portfolio in Kista was acquired for SEK 2 billion.
- The cluster strategy was developed with a focus on gathering properties in selected locations with, among other things, good accessibility and a high demand for premises.
- A new share issue was carried out to create financial preparedness for supplementary acquisitions and development of the stock.
- The long-term goals that were set for 2017 were achieved and a new business plan towards 2020 was developed.
- Tax assessments relating to property sales from the mid-2000s were finally settled.
- The company moved to a new head office in its own property Lustgården 12 in western Kungsholmen, Stockholm.
- At year-end, Kungsleden owned properties worth just over SEK 27 billion.
- More value-creating investments continued to be made, leading to ever-higher quality of the stock and stronger earning capacity.
- Properties with limited potential were sold for SEK 700 million and Kungsleden left eleven municipalities.
- The innovative office property Emporia Office in Malmö was acquired.
At year-end, 79 per cent of the portfolio was located in one of Kungsleden’s prioritised growth markets Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Västerås.
- The transformation of the property portfolio was largely complete. Kungsleden now had financial stability, the right kind of properties in the right locations and a portfolio with good opportunities for profitable investments through tenant adjustments and project development.
- The properties Gladan 5, 6 and 7 in the Stockholm City West cluster were acquired.
- The transformation of the property portfolio was completed with the divestment of non-strategic properties for SEK 1.9 billion.
- A fully subscribed new share issue was implemented to strengthen the balance sheet and enable continued profitable growth.
- A total of SEK 925 million was invested in the property portfolio.
- A new modern office cluster – Gothenburg Södra Centrum – was created through the acquisition of three properties.
- The STUDIO concept property in central Malmö was acquired.
- At year-end, Kungsleden owned 222 properties in some 20 locations. In total, the stock was valued at almost SEK 35 billion and 85 per cent was in one of Kungsleden’s four priority growth markets.
- Kungsleden received the attractive credit rating Investment Grade from the rating agency Moody’s.
- A prestigious project in the property Blästern 14 in Stockholm’s inner city was completed when the designer hotel Nobis was inaugurated in April.
- A decision was made to establish our own operating organisation.
- A decision was made to ensure the entire value chain is carbon positive by 2035 and carbon positive in management and property management by 2025 as an intermediate goal.
- A decision was made to move the property management head office to The Rotterdam District in Värtahamnen. The move will take place in 2021, once the project is completed.
- Inaugurated the B26 co-working space in Västerås.
- Acquired the Mimer 6 property in Västerås.
- Kungsleden was included in the Global Property Research GPR 250 index.