With a successful year under his belt, it’s time to meet the investment deal maker
Colliers' newly minted Capital Markets & Investment Services Executive Director, Russell Lam, has many reasons to celebrate. He has just been promoted, and he’s sealed three significant’ deals in the last year.
When he’s not working round the clock to broker transactions for investors or vendors, Russell enjoys a game of Texas Hold’Em poker, which he says helps him balance his mind.
Q: In March this year, you led a Capital Markets & Investment Services team to successfully advise an industrial landlord on acquiring a 69,700 sq. ft. strata-title industrial floor in Kowloon Bay from a reputable international company on a sale and leaseback arrangement. How did you do it?
A: First, let me just say industrial landlords have been very active in a competitive market, so it’s great to broker a deal for an asset that aligns with their strategy.
"The key factor was understanding each stakeholder’s primary considerations"
The acquisition had been contemplated for more than a year, and it was a complex process due to the number of different stakeholders involved. The key factor was understanding each stakeholder’s primary considerations to develop a custom solution.
Q: In August last year, you helped the family of the late “Shop King” Tang Shing-bor dispose of Mineron Centre in Fanling for HK$695 million to a Chinese logistics player. What were the issues, and how did you solve them?
A: The Mineron Centre transaction came with two significant challenges – the seller wanted substantially more than the buyer was willing to pay, and the transaction requirements of the deal were quite complex, including the termination of a waiver letter to revert the asset to a logistics centre.
So, we compiled a list of recent market transactions to give the acquirer a sense of the current market which encouraged them to improve their bid. We also lined up a leasing interest in the satellite space to justify the asset’s value by providing an attractive leasing LOI. There was much discussion with all parties, but the agreement was worth it.
Q: Which of the big-three transactions was the most personally satisfying?
A: It was the en-bloc acquisition of Le Hoteru, a 99-roomed boutique hotel in To Kwa Wan, for Weave Living in August last year. We acted on behalf of the vendor and buyer on that transaction. We worked with the Weave Living acquisition team round the clock and eventually clinched the deal.
The facility is going to be operated under the Weave Studios brand.
Q: Are you enjoying your time at Colliers?
A: Absolutely. At first, I was attracted by the lively minds and the bonds between colleagues. People here live up to the Colliers’ value of “Collaborate to drive exceptional results”. We do collaborate, exchange viewpoints and first-hand observations across different business lines to deliver the best results.
"People here live up to the Colliers’ value of Collaborate to drive exceptional results"
Q: So, what’s the deal with poker?
A: I enjoy gauging my hand’s strength and the probabilities that might unfold, then working out an optimal way to bet on it. It’s quite like investing or decision making in real life. Sometimes you win, and other times, the optimal strategy would be to fold.
How you play your hand shapes how people at the poker table view you and how they deal with you. In my experience, that is essentially the same in real life.
Ace of diamonds
Q: Tell us about your promotion.
A: Obviously, I’m delighted to be recognised for my contribution to Colliers.
Q: What would you say to those following in your footsteps?
A: Hmm, constantly refine the services we offer, make them better and better. You have to be so good that the client remembers you, and reaches out to you the next time they have a project.
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