TO OUR SHAREHOLDERS
2015 was another year of exceptional performance for CBRE, as we set new company records for revenue and earnings and drove double-digit growth.
Notably, we became the first firm in our sector to exceed $10 billion in total revenue and $1.4 billion in normalized Earnings Before Interest Taxes Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA)1.
For the year:
- Revenue increased 20% (26% local currency1) to $10.9 billion, while fee revenue1 rose 14% (20% local currency) to $7.7 billion
- Adjusted earnings per share1 rose 22% (26% local currency) to $2.05
- Normalized EBITDA increased 21% (26% local currency) to $1.4 billion
- Normalized EBITDA margin on fee revenue improved 110 basis points to 18.3%
We attained these strong results while making strategic gains across CBRE:
- We materially strengthened our Occupier Outsourcing business with the purchase of Johnson Controls, Inc.’s Global Workplace Solutions (GWS) business – our largest acquisition in nearly a decade. We now have an unrivaled ability to self-perform facilities management services around the world.
- In Capital Markets, we made market share gains around the globe.
- Besides GWS, we acquired eight leading companies in 2015 enhancing our capabilities in energy management, retail data analytics, capital markets and consulting.
- We had our third straight year of outsized recruiting gains as hundreds of new senior Brokerage and Capital Markets professionals – net of departures – elected to join our team. The average production of people joining our team is three times higher than those who have left us.
- We opened our 30th new state-of-the-art alternative workplace office – which we call Workplace360 – providing our people with a collaborative and innovative work environment.
- We earned a place on the prestigious Dow Jones Sustainability Index – the most comprehensive benchmark for environmental activities and responsible business practices – for the second year in a row.
- Finally, we ended the year with a balance sheet that is stronger than at any time in recent history. This is highlighted by investment-grade credit ratings and more than $3 billion of available liquidity at year-end.
Our many successes resulted from the implementation of the strategy we adopted three years ago. We conduct a strategic review with our Board each quarter, intensively assessing the performance of key business lines and geographic businesses. CBRE’s unique market position – from our geographic reach and business line depth to our financial strength and highly regarded brand – helps us to execute a strategy that is highly differentiated within our sector. This strategy is built on four key pillars:
CLIENT OUTCOMES – We capitalize on our well-developed geographic footprint and business line capabilities – plus our collaborative culture and increasingly strong operating platform – to produce results that clients have a hard time finding elsewhere.
TOP TALENT – This same set of strengths, as well as our superior brand, help us to attract and retain top professionals who are interested in building rewarding real estate careers. Developing our talent pool is a high priority for CBRE, as we help our people to sharpen their skills and become more effective advisors.
PLATFORM INVESTMENTS – Among firms in our sector, we have an unparalleled ability to invest in technology, research, and specialized consulting capabilities that help our people serve clients. The strength of our balance sheet, the cash flow we generate and the depth of our management team all enable these investments, which in turn create a distinct competitive advantage.
GROWTH AND LEADERSHIP – Our geographic and business line leadership – coupled with M&A capabilities that are unrivalled in our sector – allows us to drive market share gains, continually refine and enhance our capabilities and achieve long-term growth.
This strategy served us especially well in 2015 and provides a roadmap for our future. As we look ahead to 2016, we believe CBRE is positioned for another strong year, while mindful of the more fragile macro environment in which we operate. We will continue to benefit from a more stable, “stickier” revenue base, our distinct brand, culture and strategy, as well as our ongoing commitment to running a cost-efficient business to support future investments and long-term value creation.
We thank our more than 70,000 employees for an excellent year in 2015. We also thank our clients for entrusting their business to CBRE, and you, our shareholders, for your continued support.
Robert E. Sulentic
President & Chief Executive Officer
1 These are non-GAAP financial measures. Please refer to the "Financial Results" page of this Annual Report for reconciliation to GAAP measures.
This document is not an “annual report” as that term is used in the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934. For a copy of our annual report as governed by SEC rules, please click here. Note that this document is not a supplement or substitute for our Securities-and-Exchange-Act-compliant annual report.