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Edited Transcript of CCAG.DE earnings conference call or presentation 12-Nov-19 12:30pm GMT

Q3 2019 Corestate Capital Holding SA Earnings Call

LUXEMBOURG Dec 2, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Corestate Capital Holding SA earnings conference call or presentation Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at 12:30:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Kai Gregor Klinger

CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Head of IR & Capital Markets

* Lars Schnidrig

CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Chairman of Management Board, CEO & CFO

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Conference Call Participants

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* Kai Malte Klose

Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG, Research Division - Analyst

* Thomas Neuhold

Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Head of Research of Austria

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Presentation

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Kai Gregor Klinger, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Head of IR & Capital Markets [1]

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Hello, everyone. Warm welcome to our earnings call today for the presentation of the results for the first 9 months of 2019. As usual, I'd like to direct your attention to the forward-looking statement and disclaimer wording on Page 2 of our presentation. This Safe Harbor language applies to the presentation and all comments we'll be making today.

I would also like to mention that everything is being recorded. After the call, a replay will be available on our website. Our CEO, Lars Schnidrig, and I will guide you through the presentation, followed by the usual Q&A session. The timeframe for today's call is about 30 minutes. Now it's my pleasure to turn the call over to Lars. Lars, the floor is yours.

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Lars Schnidrig, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Chairman of Management Board, CEO & CFO [2]

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Many thanks, Kai. And also from my side, a very warm welcome to all of you. To make it brief and clear, we had a very solid first 9 months of 2019. The markets remained in good shape for our business, and this is reflected in our figures and operations.

Our core business, real estate, assets under management went up by more than 7% since the end of 2018, reaching EUR 22.1 billion, a new record high. We will give you some more details on our AUM on the next slide.

This tailwind from the market and from our AUM growth is also reflected in our figures. We are fully in line with our budgets, guidance and expectations. You will see this later on in our bridge to the full year figures.

As I've said already several times, we want to internationalize our assets and our client base. So far, the vast majority of our product investors are from Germany, which gives us a very solid and reliable home base for further growth, but we also want to use our institutionalized platform to acquire large accounts from outside. And we have done the first important steps on this way.

For instance, one of our new clients is a large multi-asset management firm from the U.S., another one is a global top 10 asset manager based in Europe. And we also welcome one of the leading German life insurance groups to our client list.

Speaking about our products. We have, for example, broadened our footprint in Spain, in the Scandies, in Poland, in Italy and in Benelux, the later in addition with the new office in Amsterdam. And believe me, this list is far from all-encompassing. As you know, we have signed the contract to acquire the French asset management from STAM Europe at the beginning of July, and we expect the final approval from Paris States Authorities in the upcoming weeks, most likely this year. Closing will then follow soon. This will give us not only an excellent access to new clients and asset in France but also to logistics as a new asset class in our product range.

One crucial task for us was to deliver on our promise to reduce the balance sheet usage in Q3 as planned. And I can report execution. We have placed several assets that previously have been on our books to our clients and such, our leverage ratio at the end of September was, again, on the upper end of our target range between 2x and 3x. We expect this figure to go further down until the end of the year. This was exactly as of yesterday's acknowledge by Standard & Poor's. The rating agency published their research improving our outlook from stable to positive, keeping our corporate rating unchanged at BB+. Now please turn to Page 4.

You know the chart from our previous calls. It shows the development of our assets under management, and it's a very appropriate sum-up of our product offerings, the market appetite and our future growth path. As I said before, our core business, real estate, assets under management have once again reached a new record high with an organic increase of 7.2% since the end of 2018.

Simultaneously, our non-real estate portfolio went down in the first 9 months as scheduled by roughly EUR 400 million. With the anticipated integration of STAM Europe, we were slowly but surely approaching EUR 30 billion assets under management.

When you look at the percentage distribution of our assets, you will realize that our main organic AUMs, AUM growth comes from our asset classes, micro living, residential and office. Despite the close to fully let status in appealing locations and very attractive returns, our retail assets are lagging behind in the backdrop of the current market sentiment towards off-line retailers.

In general, we see an incredible demand for our micro living product range in Germany but also abroad, driven by several factors, amongst others, the Bologna Protocol (sic) [Bologna Process .]

A current survey shows that we have around 14 million students in Mainland Europe on the continent but less than 1.4 million student homes. So just 1 out of 10 students finds a specially designed recommendation. And we have the right product, the right people and the long-standing track record.

We will continue writing this very commercial way and bring several new assets to the market by the year's end in Cologne or Berlin, for example. But this will not be the end.

For the upcoming years, we will enter local markets and start operations in Valencia, [Tang,] Salamanca, Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Zurich, for instance. And we are also currently restructuring new projects in Benelux -- structuring new projects in Benelux, Ireland and the Nordics.

Our steady sourcing pipeline went up to around EUR 6.2 billion with roughly 1/4 in advance contractual status and around 13% in the final stage of exclusivity with ongoing due diligence procedures and SPA negotiations. This is one of many reasons why we are very confident about a successful rest of 2019 and beyond. Now please turn to Page 5.

Let me once again speak a bit about our mezzanine business at HFS. In brief, very stable margins and stable fund volume. For us, the professional and discrete dealing with our clients and their data is crucial for our very good reputation in the market. So we have to ask your understanding that we cannot give you all internal details you might be interested in.

At the end of September 2019, the committed fund volume was around EUR 1.25 billion. This money goes predominantly to German residential developments with an overwhelming majority in the top 7 cities. The percentage of these booming metropolis has even been increased slightly since end of June. So this product is really seeing massive demand due to the housing scarcity in the big German cities. And this lack of affordable recommendations does not seem to be solved in the upcoming quarters and years.

The average mezzanine tranche is more than EUR 20 million, and we charge an actual interest rate of more than 19 percentage across all our 61 projects with around 30 different developers at the end of September.

Diversification is key in terms of project number, location and developer backed with our comprehensive risk assessment and controlling approach through [Geenos]. So this is our mantra today, and it was in the past as you can see on the next chart. Please turn to Page 6.

We want to give you some more insights in our HFS funds, the history, mechanics and performance. As you can see, historic aggregated fund volumes have been on the rise, very prudent and sustainable and are still going up.

When we acquired HFS in the middle of 2017, the fund showed a volume of around EUR 1 billion. It went up since then impressively to more than EUR 1.1 billion by the end of the fund year 2017, just a few months after HFS became part of CORESTATE. By the end of the fund year 2018, bear in mind the fund year ends in October, our funds volume was at around EUR 1.15 billion. And by September 2019, it stood at around EUR 1.25 billion.

Since the beginning of the funds, investors' money was deployed in a very efficient way with commitment ratios to project of around 99 percentage and [always expect] the strong overdemand and visible pipeline for the upcoming quarters. This is one main reason why the underlying average performance since inception of the funds is around 12 percentage, showing just a brief amplitude of between 11.1 percentage and 13.2 percentage. So very stable returns on a high level.

These high returns, proven over several years, was accompanied by a rising number of faithful institutional clients. You can see on the right side of this chart a basic breakdown of our investors. We currently have around [70] institutional clients, and this number has kept stable since February quarter. The overwhelming majority are pension schemes and pension funds, which together, nearly 2/3 of invested amounts followed by insurers and to a lower extent, investment funds.

What can you expect from HFS in the future? We have a very visible investment pipeline and a very clear view on our investment fund volumes, especially with the start of the new frontier in November. We expect here again a slight upward trend in volumes and as already indicated, a stable trend in margins of around 19 percentage for the upcoming quarters.

Please turn now to Page 7, and I will hand over to Kai.

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Kai Gregor Klinger, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Head of IR & Capital Markets [3]

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Many thanks, Lars. Let me please show you, on this slide, our revenue stream by the end of September and the bridge to our full year guidance. Once again, we are fully in line with our guidance, budgets and expectation for 2019.

Our acquisition-related fees stood after 9 months at EUR 24 million. It includes always a seasonal impact and will go to above EUR 45 million until end of the year based on an organic gross AUM growth of more than EUR 2 billion.

Our transaction team is working literally 24/7. So we expect more than 20 relevant client transactions finalized until the end of the year. The asset and property management fee of EUR 65 million in the first 9 months are in line with the underlying budgets to achieve more than EUR 90 million until end of the year, where we will see slight increases from new funds and catch-up effects after closed books and records in some of our more value-added driven fund structures.

Our estimated coupon participation fee of in total EUR 50 million to EUR 55 million for the entire year includes also variations of investments and repayments and some very marginal valuation effects through the year. This led to slight performance shifts between H1 and H2 on a pro Rata Temporis view. But as you can see, with EUR 39 million now after 9 months, we are very well on track here, too.

Our expected promote fee of 2019 will be between EUR 30 million to EUR 35 million, stemming mainly from 2 portfolio deals and some other smaller ones due to confidentially agreements and ongoing transactions. We cannot give you much details here. But just as an insight, the deals are on the finishing trade with several potential investors, which are also quite keen on closing in 2019.

So we are very sure to deliver on this line item by the end of December. With EUR 20 million, the bigger part of the alignment capital has already been harvested. In Q4, we expect further proceeds from before-mentioned asset placements. So our estimation of around EUR 25 million to EUR 30 million is once again reiterated.

Our expected warehousing income of 2019 is between EUR 32 million, EUR 35 million, and this is already reached with our current EUR 38 million number. We have seen here increasing rental income and service charges of, in total, EUR 14 million in the first 9 months as well as around EUR 9 million from first successful asset placements into clients' funds. As we highlighted several times, on the flip side, our income from other warehousing activities of in total EUR 15 million will be on a much lower level in Q4 as the majority of these assets were placed between July and September.

All in all, we are very confident to reach again our aggregated revenue goals until year-end. Same, of course, for our earnings, please flip to the next page to give you also more color here. On this chart, you see some key P&L figures. Please let me focus a bit on the cost side. In brief, our expenses from real estate investment management stood at nearly EUR 62 million, alignment capital expenses amounted to nearly EUR 6 million, and warehousing expenses came out at EUR 16.8 million.

Our ratio of operational expenses ended up at around 45.6% so temporarily higher than our year-end picture will be. This was mainly due to accrued expenses for a number of transactions we have already signed or are expected in the next couple of weeks.

After a peak in Q2, mainly driven by M&A-related costs and other extraordinary items, we are in Q3 again with our G&A expenses back on our regular level.

In total, for the first 9 months of our G&A were at EUR 17.1 million. Including other income, our EBITDA after 9 months stood at roughly EUR 100 million, translating into an EBITDA margin of around 54%. The new IFRS 16 adoption, especially the requirement to treat rents as depreciation, had and will have only a minor effect on our EBITDA and D&A.

Depreciation and amortization amounted to EUR 25.3 million, resulting in an EBIT of EUR 74.8 million. We spoke during our Q3 -- Q2 reporting about our balance sheet usage for client growth, leading to an increase in our financial results, and we told you that this will be reduced in H2 with corresponding impact on the financial result.

We have delivered on this promise. So our financial results stood at a normalized level of around minus EUR 15 million for the first 9 months of 2019. Our tax rate was unusually low at around 6% in H1 but returned to our typical range of around 12% to 14% for the first 9 months. This means reported net profit of EUR 51.3 million.

Lastly, as always, our net profit adjustments below EBITDA line, the amortization of the capitalized asset management contracts amounted to EUR 18.8 million in the reporting period. DTA and noncontrolling interest stood at minus EUR 2.5 million, which leads to an adjusted net profit of EUR 67.6 million. Please turn now to Page 9.

Let me give you some key balance sheet figures as the end of September 2019. Starting with our 2 major and long-term financing instruments, the senior unsecured bond with currently EUR 294 million and the convertible bond with EUR 190 million, adding bank and other debt of EUR 140 million, including EUR 56 million short-term balancing debt, we had a gross financial debt figure of EUR 598 million end of Q3.

So we once again delivered on our promise we gave you a quarter ago: to reduce the short balance sheet utilization significantly. For example, the line item Structured Asset Held For Sale is now at 0 on our balance sheet. This also shows positive impact on our financial debt compared to the end of June. Our cash amounted to EUR 160 million, which leads to a net debt figure of EUR 482 million. Thus, at the end of September 2019, our leverage ratio stood at 2.5 -- at 2.8x. And so we expect several more assets from our balance sheet to be placed to clients for -- in the upcoming weeks, our financial leverage will go down to the lower half of our target range of 2 to 3x by the end of 2019.

As already stated on our Capital Markets Day 2 months ago with an update on our financial policy, our future corporate leverage will remain clearly below 3x, and we have limited our total warehousing exposure to EUR 200 million max.

So in a nutshell, and this is also reflected in yesterday's published S&P assessment, our long-term balance sheet ratios are healthy and in excellent shape. Our equity ratio went up to around 42%. Our debt is long term secured. The goodwill position from M&A are tested periodically with a lot of headroom and flexibility according to consistently prudent PPA procedures and underlying subsidiaries with thriving and growing operations. So please turn to Page 10, and I'd like to hand you over again to Lars.

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Lars Schnidrig, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Chairman of Management Board, CEO & CFO [4]

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Thank you, Kai. So all in all, you see a company with all its operations in very good shape, that's why we once again confirm our full year targets. We will reach aggregated revenues of EUR 285 million to EUR 295 million, EBITDA of between EUR 165 million and EUR 175 million and adjusted net profit of between EUR 130 million and EUR 140 million.

Lastly, what can you expect from us in 2020? As always, we give -- we will give our guidance for 2020 together with our preliminary 2019 figures on 21st February but just to give you a sneak preview. We will continue our journey with winning new clients, especially large international institutional investors, who are convinced by our impressive pipeline of new products and innovative initiatives. The market remains in good shape, and we will offer what clients are looking for, especially in some very commercial niche markets such as micro living or co-living.

Our basic distribution policy remains in place. We will distribute around half of our earnings per share back to our shareholders. I am convinced that this is a very attractive distribution, especially given we are a growth story. As I said during the Capital Markets Day, given the market's tailwind, given our product range and keeping the impressive client feedback in mind, we will grow our company organically by 5% to 10% on AUM level and inorganically by between EUR 3 billion to EUR 5 billion per annum.

So in a nutshell, it's not out of range that in half a decade and based on our internal and external growth ambitions to double the company size of today and cross the EUR 50 billion AUMs. Now we can open the floor to our Q&A session. With that, I hand over to the operator to start the Q&A.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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Okay. Our first question comes from the line of Thomas Neuhold of Kepler Cheuvreux.

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Thomas Neuhold, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Head of Research of Austria [2]

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I have several questions, and I think it's best if we go through them one by one. Firstly, on your guidance, obviously, this implies a quite strong Q4. I was wondering if you can provide more details on the big swing factors, acquisition fees for both fields, which portion of the fees you need to reach the Q4 target? Did you realize already now since the start of Q4 and which is [below open?]

And I was wondering if you can also provide more details on this 2 bigger portfolio deals you're talking about, which segment, which country this is.

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Lars Schnidrig, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Chairman of Management Board, CEO & CFO [3]

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Thomas, it's Lars. So yes, I mean, I said this in the press release. We are currently in execution of more than 20 deals. They range between x and debt. So what does it mean?

Of course, we are in daily execution and also signing closing of some of these transactions. I can't give you now, and I think it's not sensible to give you now -- to go now through all this 20 transaction and obviously, [your math says]. But just to let you know, we are in our budget there. This was planned from the first of January that we will have a larger amount of transaction to be closed within the fourth quarter. This is typically a seasonality in our business.

Going forward, the next 2020, 2021, of course, I expect there's a bit to change that we don't have always in the fourth quarter as we had in the last years the largest amount of transaction to be closed. And the question is why?

Because simply, the fee streams we are generating has changed. We have attracted very large institutional clients who are simply providing us, call it, discretionary funds, and obviously, they will not wait until the fourth quarter. So we have some very stable P&L figures throughout the year, like our property and asset management, including our HFS business. And that in terms of, how you say, taking out seasonality, obviously, this new client base will help.

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Kai Gregor Klinger, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Head of IR & Capital Markets [4]

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And to make one point clear, Thomas, Kai is here. The EUR 35 million promote fee, we feel very comfortable with. And I have also indicated this, it's also the investor who wants to have to close this transaction until end of the year. So -- and we can underpin this, but -- and of course, we will have this understanding that we can't disclose any details of transactions, which are still ongoing and may be very close to the signing process.

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Thomas Neuhold, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Head of Research of Austria [5]

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Understood. And then I have 2 questions on the HFS business. Firstly, I was wondering if you can give us an update on the new debt business. You mentioned that there on Capital Markets Day.

And then I was wondering if you look at your products at HFS, on one hand, you have the debt product. On the other hand, so to speak, high-end product where you achieve interest rates which are clearly at the upper end of the market. What about the, so to speak, plain vanilla mezzanine product where you make between 10% to 15% the return? Is this something where you think there's also a business opportunity for you? Or you're refraining from entering that segment?

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Lars Schnidrig, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Chairman of Management Board, CEO & CFO [6]

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So coming to the first question, timeframe has not changed as communicated throughout the year and on the Capital Markets Day. So we expect our senior loan/home loan structure to be live in the first quarter 2020.

What I can say is, and I repeat this, why will this product be a success? Very simply speaking because the clients' demand for that. That means the German fragmented developer market rather deals with 1 party than with 2. One means solely HFS. Two means a senior lending bank and HFS.

So we have, as a third bullet on this -- to answer your question, we have strong demand as well from the client side as well from the investor side, who provide them the required investment funds, obviously because we are -- we can offer them -- and this is one of our main topics, offer them additional products. So you have client demand. You have investors' demand. And therefore, I expect this to develop as a successful new product in our chain.

Secondly, what you asked about this product. We haven't -- it's not on our table. Otherwise, I would have communicated to you.

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Thomas Neuhold, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Head of Research of Austria [7]

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Of course, why not [may have survive?] Why you're leaving out the segment in the middle, so to speak? Why is it not interesting for you?

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Lars Schnidrig, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Chairman of Management Board, CEO & CFO [8]

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This is always the question we are. We have a very efficient fund structure, which is very attractive in terms of the -- and we have shown this in the presentation in terms of the returns. And of course, we would -- implicitly, we will do it with our whole loan structure. So else anticipating this lower risk mezzanine tranche included in the whole loan to, so to say, subsidize the entire yield for the fund. But to make another, so to say, a third product line with an intermediate mezzanine product between whole loan and this risk adequate initial mezzanine tranche in a development project, we are currently not looking for.

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Thomas Neuhold, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Head of Research of Austria [9]

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Okay, understood. Then next question is on your debt and the debt structure. If you look at the market-implied yields of your bonds. They seem to be quite high. Have you ever considered taking out bank loans and try to buy back the convertible bond or the senior bond?

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Lars Schnidrig, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Chairman of Management Board, CEO & CFO [10]

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Currently, this is not an option for us. Do we consider everything around that topic? Yes. But I think it's very wise now to keep your powder also dry for further developing and growing our business. And I think it's very visible how much cash we produce per year. And we take now, in particular, in 2020, 2021, very important step to establish a pan-European micro-living player. And as you know, as an asset manager, you need also capital as alignment capital. And therefore, I'm more -- I have to say, I'm more a fan currently of that.

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Thomas Neuhold, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Head of Research of Austria [11]

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And my last question is on your growth through acquisition strategy. Today, you announced a target of EUR 3 billion to EUR 5 billion of inorganic growth opportunities. At the Capital Markets Day, you were still talking about EUR 2 billion to EUR 4 billion. I was just wondering if there was any structural change for the update in this target. Or what was the reason for this update of this target here?

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Lars Schnidrig, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Chairman of Management Board, CEO & CFO [12]

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So EUR 3 billion to EUR 5 billion is possible. Currently, we have no M&As on the table. I'm very pleased that we are -- that we have executed on, so to say, our financial discipline, our financial strategy, which is also reflected in the positive outlook of S&P.

There's a very strong statement. It relates, on the one hand, obviously, to the leverage, to the balance sheet strength, which has improved. But also it's a compliment, I think, to all of our colleagues here at CORESTATE to the successful integration we have performed and the strategy we are rolling out in the next 12 to 24 months.

As said, it is possible, but we want to be very disciplined. Now we are in the process, 2 things. First of all, we are in the process of closing the STAM Europe acquisition, which will be depending on the French authority year-end, latest beginning of 2020. And obviously, we are in the process of also budgeting guidance 2020, and then we will decide how much we put into M&A.

But to be very clear, currently, there's nothing on the table and actually very comfortable when I look at the organic growth we can produce with this portfolio, with this team. And always keep in mind, we don't grow the AUMs just to grow the AUMs, in all fairness. We grow the AUMs to establish a European market player to get the right partners on board.

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Thomas Neuhold, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Head of Research of Austria [13]

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And if I remember correctly, your target acquisition market ranges from 5x to 7x EBITDA. Is this correct?

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Kai Gregor Klinger, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Head of IR & Capital Markets [14]

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We don't have a fixed target, but it depends always on what is the underlying profile of the asset manager. And of course, if you have a much more established one with a long-lasting and recurring fee pattern, then it's different if you have maybe a little bit more on the opportunistic range.

But of course, we are quite rational and disciplined in terms of pricing, not to overpay anything.

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Lars Schnidrig, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Chairman of Management Board, CEO & CFO [15]

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But what I can also add and ensure you, Thomas. I have multiple talks to smaller asset managers who are approaching me because, obviously, as we all know, it takes quite a bit of time to establish such a European platform. And as I'm always saying, we are in a very comfortable position there to take on partners. We have the right product and to us, the right clients, as we did with STAM Europe, as we did with CRM that helps us to roll out our European micro-living strategy, as we did this with ATOS, with managing one of our most successful fund opportunity fund and of course, as we did with HFS and Hannover Leasing. And we will continue so to make this company a success.

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Operator [16]

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Our next question comes from the line of Kai Klose of Berenberg.

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Kai Malte Klose, Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG, Research Division - Analyst [17]

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I have also a couple of questions. The first one is on Page 15 of the 9 months report. Could you indicate what was the underlying acquisition volume which was leading to EUR 24 million of acquisition-related fees in the 9 months of this year and EUR 31.7 million as of 9 months last year?

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Kai Gregor Klinger, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Head of IR & Capital Markets [18]

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Kai, it's Kai here. I can give you roughly the number or for the first 9 months of this year, and I will come back with the other number of 2018 in the aftermath of the fund because there I have to dive a little bit deeper. Roughly between EUR 1.3 billion and EUR 1.4 billion AUM growth. Transaction volume is the underlying volumes for 2019, which is roughly -- goes to around EUR 30 million, EUR 40 million of transaction, our real estate equity product, plus we have roughly EUR 10 million, a little bit more, from HFS underwriting fees in there.

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Kai Malte Klose, Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG, Research Division - Analyst [19]

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Okay. Second question on this page, what is -- what was the split of the property and of the asset management fee?

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Kai Gregor Klinger, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Head of IR & Capital Markets [20]

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Just give me a second, I have to double check. And we had in the 9 months, we are at EUR 20 million of property management fee and the residual amount is predominantly as a management fee.

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Kai Malte Klose, Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG, Research Division - Analyst [21]

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And we had, as of 9 months, EUR 5.7 million gains from the value measurement of financial instruments related to real estate. Could you indicate what was behind there? And is it a noncash, which should we have then deducted from your -- or adjusted from your full year guidance?

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Lars Schnidrig, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Chairman of Management Board, CEO & CFO [22]

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So we will have there roughly 20% is our dividends, so cash underlying and the remaining 80% are linked to derivatives, which have, of course, an uplift on valuation side. And of course, it gets realized if we will close these transactions.

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Kai Malte Klose, Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG, Research Division - Analyst [23]

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So the 80% of this EUR 5.7 million are the kind of one-off and noncash? Are you going to intend to close that position until year-end?

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Lars Schnidrig, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Chairman of Management Board, CEO & CFO [24]

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Yes. Of course, not until year-end. But if you have an underlying business plan, which is linked with this alignment capital structures, and of course, there's an exit, and then we will also realize, on the cash side, these valuation effects.

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Kai Malte Klose, Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG, Research Division - Analyst [25]

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Okay. Next question would be on Page 14 of the report. I guess could you confirm that the EUR 56 million increase in the short-term financial liabilities to banks. So we're referring to the warehousing debt, I suppose?

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Lars Schnidrig, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Chairman of Management Board, CEO & CFO [26]

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Yes, that's the case. Right.

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Kai Malte Klose, Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG, Research Division - Analyst [27]

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And the increase in the other current liability is coming from where?

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Lars Schnidrig, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Chairman of Management Board, CEO & CFO [28]

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These are short-term -- very short-term structures from warehousing, where we have, for client purposes, warehousing assets on our balance sheet with underlying liability structure. So -- and this is already down because we have placed these assets (inaudible). So we won't see that anymore until year-end.

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Kai Malte Klose, Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG, Research Division - Analyst [29]

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So the asset side on Page 13, it's shown where, the short-term assets, the corresponding assets?

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Lars Schnidrig, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Chairman of Management Board, CEO & CFO [30]

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They were [IA] in the other short-term assets. But these assets were already placed or deconsolidated and the liability structures were still on our balance sheet for a couple of days until they are also, of course, released.

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Kai Malte Klose, Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG, Research Division - Analyst [31]

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Okay, okay. We may have to come back to this later. And last question would be regarding the ACAS business, going back to the presentation here on Page 5. We have now 61 finance projects, I'd say, compared to about 57 or 56 as of June. You mentioned that the average interest you're charging is above 19%. Could you just indicate what was in -- what -- how's the latest project, or what are the interest rates you are charging for the new projects compared to previously our 30 financed projects?

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Lars Schnidrig, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Chairman of Management Board, CEO & CFO [32]

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It average between 9...

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Kai Malte Klose, Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG, Research Division - Analyst [33]

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[You are charging] to developers.

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Lars Schnidrig, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Chairman of Management Board, CEO & CFO [34]

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Sorry? [Yes, it's last, okay]? So it levels between 19% and 23%, depending on the project, depending on the stage where we are entering. So therefore, this is an average number above 19%. Yes.

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Kai Gregor Klinger, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Head of IR & Capital Markets [35]

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But you're facing maybe or you're challenging a little bit is do we see any decreasing scenarios for the interest rates and there, clear no. So we are on the same level. And of course, it depends based on the underlying risk situation. [It's] a project, what is the equity tranche, what is our Mezz tranche, what is the setup. But there, we see still the same risk adequate pricing for this transaction and not an upcoming, more competitive-driven price per year.

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Operator [36]

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And we have a follow-up from Thomas Neuhold of Kepler Cheuvreux.

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Thomas Neuhold, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Head of Research of Austria [37]

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I have a follow-up question also related to the balance sheet development. Other financial instruments went up from EUR 94 million to EUR 148 million at the end of Q3. I was just wondering what was triggering this increase?

And can you also state your exposure to straight Stratos funds. I think that was EUR 34 million at the half year. Did they change?

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Lars Schnidrig, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Chairman of Management Board, CEO & CFO [38]

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The main reason is we had before our warehousing assets on the balance sheet. And after we deconsolidate these warehousing and they are still in the placement process, so it's not a digital number on and off as you're crossing down the 50%, then it's still consolidated under this line item. And this will also go down until end of the year is -- until the placement process is completed.

So you have underlying assets there, which are yielding, of course, a little bit. But predominantly, this is the aftermath of all the accomplishment of our warehousing process and placements.

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Thomas Neuhold, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Head of Research of Austria [39]

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Okay. And your exposure to those Stratos fund?

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Lars Schnidrig, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Chairman of Management Board, CEO & CFO [40]

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Our own exposure to the Stratos fund?

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Thomas Neuhold, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Head of Research of Austria [41]

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Yes.

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Kai Gregor Klinger, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Head of IR & Capital Markets [42]

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We have -- what we are doing is if we are, and this is -- you can find this, i.e. under our warehousing processes. We have a reservoir of projects which we then place finally in the funds. Thereof, sometimes, we have out for some bridges into the fund, which are related to this project. So what we are talking, they are on a very, very low double-digit million amount.

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Thomas Neuhold, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Head of Research of Austria [43]

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In H1, that was EUR 34 million. I was just wondering if that changed in the third quarter? And if that was one of the reasons for the sharp increase in the other financial assets or instruments in regard to the revamp. Okay.

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Lars Schnidrig, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Chairman of Management Board, CEO & CFO [44]

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Definitely not, definitely not.

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Thomas Neuhold, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Head of Research of Austria [45]

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Okay.

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Kai Gregor Klinger, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Head of IR & Capital Markets [46]

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Then we are talking about equity.

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Thomas Neuhold, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Head of Research of Austria [47]

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Okay. Understand.

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Operator [48]

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(Operator Instructions) As there are no further questions at this time, I'll hand back to our speakers for the closing comments.

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Kai Gregor Klinger, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Head of IR & Capital Markets [49]

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So thank you very much. We appreciate your interest, your attention and your questions today. Lastly, I want to draw your attention to our 2020 financial calendar published today. We will release our preliminary figures for 2019, Lars mentioned this already, on the 25th of February and our Annual Report on the 24th of March. You will find all this data on the last page of the presentation on our website.

We wish you a nice remaining day and look forward to seeing you in person maybe on one of our roadshows or on the conferences which we are participating. So thank you very much.

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Lars Schnidrig, CORESTATE Capital Holding S.A. - Chairman of Management Board, CEO & CFO [50]

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Thank you. Bye-bye.