The Business Year

Panattoni Gustavo Cardozo

SPAIN - Transport

Gustavo Cardozo Lupi

General Director, Panattoni

Bio

Gustavo Cardozo Lupi was born in Caracas, Venezuela, he graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering from the Universidad Metropolitana de Caracas. During the first 10 years of his professional career, he served as Project Director for major tourist developments in Venezuela, the United States, and the Turks and Caicos Islands (ICM). After relocating to Spain in 1998, he took on the role of Project Management Director for large-scale office, industrial, and infrastructure projects at Gerens – Hill International. In 2002, he joined Prologis, where he held various positions over 17 years. He started as Project Management Director in Spain and later rose to Country Manager for the Iberian market, simultaneously serving as Senior Vice President by the end of his tenure with the logistics developer. During his time as Country Manager at Prologis, he directly led the development of 750,000 sqm of new logistics buildings, the acquisition of 800,000 sqm of third-party logistics buildings, the disposal of 350,000 sqm of assets, and the purchase of over 1.2 million sqm of land. By the time he left Prologis in 2019, he was leading a team managing a portfolio of 1,200,000 sqm of properties, valued at 800 million euros, occupied by 92 clients, and generating annual gross rental income of EUR59 million. In February 2020, he joined Panattoni as Partner and Managing Director for Spain and Portugal, with the primary goal of establishing and leading a team to position Panattoni as a leading developer of logistics and data center infrastructures in the Iberian Peninsula. His experience spans the construction, promotion, acquisition, disposal, asset management, and leasing of logistics properties. Over the years, he has been invited as a speaker at various seminars organized by institutions such as ESADE Business School, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, SIL (the International Logistics Exhibit in Barcelona), Barcelona Meeting Point, The District, the Madrid Real Estate Fair, the French Chamber of Commerce in Spain, Property Investor Europe, GRI, PwC, among others. Additionally, he has given numerous interviews and written articles published in financial and real estate media across Spain and Europe.

"While it was initially challenging to penetrate the Portuguese market without having staff on the ground, we now have three large projects in progress."
TBY talks to Gustavo Cardozo Lupi, General Director of Panattoni, about the company’s achievements, increasing market penetration, and goals for the coming year.
In 2021, Panattoni aimed to sustain growth and increase land holdings. How has the company progressed since then, and what notable achievements would you emphasize?

The objectives we set for 2021 have been surpassed as we enter 2024. At that time, we had 150,000sqm of land under control or in development, and we presently have 1,200,000sqm of land for future development, apart from the 300.000 sqm under development. We are the industrial real estate developer that has experienced the most growth in Iberia in recent years and lead in terms of the volume of developed surfaces in Spain for the past three years. In 2023, we developed 320,000sqm of warehouses across Spain. Our plan has remained consistent in both 2022 and 2021, evolving to ambitiously identify logistics and data centres development areas nationwide, secure capital, and attract customers. Our initial surprise at leading the charge has galvanized the team, driving us to exceed our goals year by year.

How does Panattoni plan to increase market penetration in Iberia?

While it was initially challenging to penetrate the Portuguese market without having staff on the ground, we now have three large projects in progress. One in Porto covers about 80,000sqm and is nearing completion, while two projects in Lisbon are set to commence by the end of 2024. We plan to start demolishing an old industrial site in Lisbon’s prime area for a modern logistics park. Additionally, another project along the Lisbon-Porto highway has already leased half of its space to a logistics operator. We faced initial market challenges, though we are now executing projects rapidly. With three ongoing projects in Portugal, our pace sets us apart in the industry. We are expanding rapidly, currently operating in 16 European countries and recently entering the Indian market. We also opened an office in Saudi Arabia and aim to enter other markets.

What is the potential of the Spanish logistical sector compared to other markets?
The Spanish logistics sector is catching up with other European countries, showing rapid growth in recent years. With many aging buildings in need of modernization, there is a niche market for rehabilitating structures over 20-25 years old. This presents untapped growth opportunities, especially considering the influence of the industrial sector. Nearshoring and reshoring trends are revitalizing Spain’s logistics market, notably driven by the automotive and agri-food sectors. Over the past two years, the logistics sector has assumed the role that e-commerce previously held. Continued growth is anticipated, contingent on favorable conditions that attract more industries to the country. This positions Spain similarly to markets like Poland and Eastern Europe, experiencing increased industrial activity from Asian companies expanding into Europe.

In recent years the shortage of urban industrial land has been a challenge. How did you navigate through that issue?

It continues to be a significant challenge, and I believe the issue is even more serious now. Much of the available land has been acquired in recent years due to the logistics boom. This trend was already underway before the pandemic, but the pandemic accelerated the growth process expected for this cycle. Most development in Spain is privately driven, leading to a scarcity of available land for future development. This shortage hampers the country’s capacity to attract foreign companies, forcing logistics to shift toward secondary markets with limited land availability, redirecting operations away from traditional logistics hubs.

Which are Panattoni’s main clients?

Fortunately, our client’s investments are diversified. The industrial sector today, which was not previously part of the picture for Panattoni Spain, is now part of the logistics sector in general. The e-commerce sector, despite experiencing a slight downturn in 2022 and 2023, is expected to return to a path of growth. The distribution landscape is diverse, encompassing parcel companies, retail, and commerce distribution handled by logistics operators. We anticipate this diversity to persist, as companies explore new locations and warehouse types, driving increased demand in the logistics and real estate sectors to meet evolving market needs

Panattoni’s sustainability plan is “Go Earthwise with Panattoni.” What achievements have been made here in Spain in terms of sustainability?

If we discuss sustainability comprehensively, including environmental concerns, social responsibility, and governance, Panattoni fully complies with all these criteria. We even surpass the market standard in terms of applying these criteria to our properties. All our properties are BREEAM certified, with the highest BREEAM ratings overall. We prioritize creating a comfortable and sustainable workplace environment for employees to attract and retain talent, promoting productivity and efficiency. In addition, our buildings are designed to minimize carbon footprint, optimize energy usage, and use durable, eco-friendly materials to reduce maintenance costs for investors and users.

What are Panattoni’s main technological projects?

We are soon to start the development of a data center near Barcelona and are currently in the stage of requesting a building permit and arranging for electrical power to be supplied to the plot. It is an ambitious project and is currently set to be the largest project to be undertaken in Barcelona in the coming years. Initially, we will have 42MW of power available by the end of 2024, though we plan to add another 80MW to our plot over the course of four years. It will be one of the biggest to be undertaken in Spain so far. We are also exploring other markets to continue growing in the data center sector. There are many similarities with the logistics sector and many synergies between them, so we see a niche market for future growth. Additionally, we are considering projects of this nature in Portugal and other cities in Spain.

How is Panattoni implementing and increasing digitalization in its services and processes?

Digitalization is profoundly impacting our customers’ operations, aiding in defining their needs and operational strategies, as well as optimizing forecasting. For instance, it suggests that a customer may require less warehouse space than initially estimated. This transformation in logistics presents numerous opportunities in overlooked markets. Panattoni remains ahead of competitors by leveraging these digital advancements. We are monitoring the growth of secondary locations driven by logistics companies’ data-driven decisions on staffing, warehouse volume, and location selection for 2025-2026. This data transformation in logistics suggests a potential shift away from primary markets such as Madrid and Barcelona toward more efficient operations in secondary markets, optimizing costs.

What are Panattoni’s main goals for 2025?

In 2025, we surmounted the hurdles of 2024 amid sustained demand. While ample space and resources are vital, matching them with customers is essential to avoid challenges. Currently, demand aligns well with supply, maintaining a healthy balance; however, future land shortages may arise if demand continues to grow. In 2025, we expect a modest upturn in investment, contrasting with the stagnation or decline experienced since 2022 due to factors like high interest rates and inflation. Despite these challenges, we anticipate renewed investor confidence by late 2024, driven by sustained demand.

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