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Ace consolidation: Strata manager PICA Group acquires Ace Body Corporate

Ace consolidation: Strata manager PICA Group acquires Ace Body Corporate

PICA Group, the country’s largest strata manager, now accounts for 10 per cent of the Australia’s growing market for strata services after acquiring the third-largest player Ace Body Corporate.

Sydney-based PICA, owned by Irish financial services company Fexco and Japanese facilities management and engineering company Nippon Kanzai Co Ltd, has added Ace’s 60,000 residential lots to its existing 200,000 to account for more than one-tenth of the 2.6-million-lot market of professionally managed properties in Australia. About 40 per cent of all properties are self-managed.

“We’re looking to enhance our position in Victoria, but in addition to that, it provides us with a national network,” PICA managing director Greg Nash told The Australian Financial Review. “It’s a massively growing industry.”

The acquisition of Victoria-based Ace boosts PICA’s market share in the state to 10 per cent from 3 per cent, Mr Nash said. It has 15 per cent of the market in Queensland, and 12 per cent of the NSW market. Ace also has a presence in SA, WA and NT in addition to NSW and southeast Queensland.

Ace will keep its brand, but PICA, which operates under 15 brands including Body Corporate Services (BCS), NSW Strata Management and Dynamic Property Services, was thinking about how it could ‘sensibly’ undertake a rebrand and reduce the confusion that comes from having so many different brands, Mr Nash said.

The Australian National Strata Data 2018 report by UNSW City Futures Research Centre shows 9 per cent of the population lives in apartments. By 2050 one-third of all people in greater Sydney would live in a strata community, Mr Nash said.

The surge in attached-dwelling construction that saw approvals of apartments, townhouses and semi-detached dwellings nearly match those of detached houses over the past five years, has drawn many players into the former cottage industry that is assuming a growing importance as more and more Australians live in buildings with common walls.

This means a growing professionalism and race for scale in a strata industry that has to manage new laws, such as strata title reforms in NSW and planned similar ones in Victoria and WA to permit housing stock renewal, and complex management and technical knowledge, as owners’ corporations try to manage their exposure to combustible cladding and Airbnb.

Under the deal, terms of which were not disclosed, PICA acquires the franchisor rights to 118 nationally operating Ace franchised branches, as well as full ownership and management of Ace’s largest franchise branch in Melbourne.

Source: Financial Review 8Oct18

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