Cushman & Wakefield CEO Brett White (Cushman)

Cushman & Wakefield CEO Brett White (Cushman)

Cushman & Wakefield reported a $17.2 million net loss in the first quarter of 2021.

But the brokerage, which saw its revenue decline by 10 percent in 2020, achieved some stability between January and March by bringing in more revenue from its non-brokerage businesses. Adjusted EBITDA was $99.7 million, up 42 percent compared to the same period last year, the company announced on Thursday.

Revenue from leasing and capital markets declined 3 percent and 9 percent, respectively, but
“this is the lowest rate of year-over-year percentage decline,” since the onset of the pandemic, said CEO Brett White during an earnings call.

Meanwhile, revenue from Cushman’s property, facilities and project management services, as well as valuation services, grew by 5 and 7 percent, respectively.

The firm also implemented cost-saving initiatives, which helped offset the net loss of income.

“In connection with these actions, we achieved $125 million of permanent savings last year, and are on track to achieve an additional $125 million in 2021,” White said.

With the worst of the pandemic-driven downturn behind it, Cushman is looking for opportunities for mergers and acquisitions, White said. The company’s liquidity at the end of the first quarter was $2 billion, including $1 billion in undrawn revolving loans and $1 billion in cash.

“We have a demonstrated track record of a creative M&A” and brokering a team onboarding, White said. “We believe there will be consolidation of shares for a firm like Cushman & Wakefield that have the capability, resources, and scale to solve the challenges our clients face each day.”

Consolidation has been ongoing in the commercial real estate services sector in the pre-pandemic era; in 2019, for example, JLL acquired HFF for $2 billion. Last fall, Cushman tried and failed to acquire Newmark Group, which reportedly rejected the takeover offer.