More CRE companies cancel Mipim plans

Prudential Financial's PGIM Real Estate arm, UK REIT Land Securities and brokers Knight Frank and Savills have joined Cushman & Wakefield in their decision to pull out of Mipim on the back of the new coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, PGIM said: 'Due to the ongoing spread of the Coronavirus, PGIM Real Estate has taken the difficult decision that it will not attend Mipim this year. The health and wellbeing of our employees is, and always will be, our utmost priority.'

Similarly, Knight Frank said: 'The evolving nature of COVID-19 in Europe has forced us to reconsider our presence at large multi-national events. To that end we will no longer be attending Mipim. The health and security of our people and clients are of utmost importance and have to be prioritised over all else.'

Broker Savills confirmed that it has withdrawn from Mipim noting that the health and safety of its staff 'must take priority'. 'As a business that puts employees’ and clients’ wellbeing first and foremost, Savills considers health and safety to be of absolute priority. Given the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, and the increasing number of cases in Europe, together with the fact that Mipim involves many thousands of people travelling from multiple countries across the world, in the light of developments over the past week, the firm considers that it would be inappropriate to attend,' Savills said.

Mark Ridley, Group and Global CEO of Savills, commented: 'Due to the scale and size of this conference, and the importance of the event to our industry, this decision has not been taken lightly but our absolute priority is the welfare of our staff as well as avoiding any service disruption to our clients in light of increased coronavirus cases across Europe. Our thoughts at this time are with those affected in China, and all around the world.'

Land Securities has not issued an official statement but confirmed to PropertyEU that it will no longer be attending.

Yesterday evening broker C&W also announced that it is pulling out of Mipim because of concerns about the coronavirus. The agent issued a statement which said: 'The health and safety of our employees and our clients is our priority. With the rapidly increasing number of cases of coronavirus in Europe and the elevated industry-wide concern around attendance at large multi-national events, we have decided to withdraw from Mipim.'

This week the firm temporarily closed its Milan office and told all its employees in Milan to work from home.

The organisers of Mipim said on Thursday that they understand companies which have decided to cancel but also confirmed the event will go ahead as planned. 'We understand and respect the concerns of clients who have decided to cancel their attendance at Mipim. The event will open for business on March 10. In the rapidly-evolving environment we are monitoring developments closely. The health and safety of our clients and staff is our priority,' a spokesperson for Reed Midem told PropertyEU.

WHO IS NEXT?

Other companies are expected to follow suit. Agent CBRE said that it continues to monitor and assess its attendance at the event which is still planned for 10-13 March.

'Amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the health and safety of our staff is our primary concern,' the broker said.

Agent BNP Paribas Real Estate still plans to attend, for now. 'We are monitoring the situation very closely,' a BNPPRE spokesperson told PropertyEU.

Broker Colliers said it is 'currently reviewing' its options. 'The health and wellbeing of our employees is our number one priority. With that at the forefront of our minds we are currently reviewing the latest guidance from local and national authorities as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) as it relates to the escalating spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and how that impacts on Colliers’ decision to attend Mipim and other major events.'

But by Thursday evening, there were strong indications that Colliers is planning to announce on Friday that it will not be attending Mipim.

Northern Italy has seen the largest concentration of cases of the virus in Europe so far, with 500 cases confirmed by 27 February. But the virus continues to spread across Europe, with new European countries reporting cases every day.

FRANCE 'FACES AN EPIDEMIC'
French president Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that France was preparing for a spike in the number of coronavirus cases, adding 'we are going to have to deal with it as best we can'.

'We are facing a crisis, an epidemic, that is coming,' he said, while visiting a hospital in Paris where the first French national with coronavirus died on Tuesday. 'We're only at the beginning.'

France has 18 confirmed cases, with two deaths including a Chinese tourist who was visiting. According to the BBC, some public events have already been cancelled, including the last day of a major carnival in Nice on Saturday.

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