The year 2022 was a good one for Pontos. Despite the direct and indirect challenges caused by the war in Ukraine, the group continued grow more slowly, yet favorably. We succeeded in several of our central projects.
Our strategy is to develop cities in sustainable ways. Pontos wants to find solutions and solvers for curbing climate change and maintaining the Earth’s bearing capacity, including new, innovative players digitalizing the real estate and construction industry. We help companies grow by offering capital, sector expertise and support for business development.
The global real estate base is the world’s largest asset class. At the same time, real estate and construction make up 40 percent of the world’s total CO2 emissions. In 2022, Pontos launched carbon neutrality goals for its real estate portfolio, targeting a carbon-neutral real estate portfolio by 2030. With systematic leadership, we will promote the use of new solutions and operating ways that support carbon neutrality in our properties – and all our companies.
Long-term investments in the investment portfolio yielded results
Pontos’ investment portfolio developed favorably in 2022 despite the challenging investment environment, which was impacted by increasing inflation, the rapidly rising interest level and negative return from most asset classes.
The key event of the year for Pontos’ investment portfolio was selling data center and cloud service company Ficolo (now Verne Global). We invested in the company together with Taaleri in 2017. As the company grew by 30 percent annually, we sold all our shares to infrastructure fund Digital 9 Infrastructure plc, which has more extensive resources to support the company in its next growth stages. Success was made possible by the excellent collaboration between Ficolo’s management, board and owners.
Viru Keskus entered the final stage of its two-year renovation program, which will be completed in summer 2023. During summer 2022, the company opened a renewed restaurant hub, food world and an area for well-being and leisure services. With the renovation program still ongoing, Viru Keskus’ sales reached the pre-pandemic level.
Construction of the sustainable regional development project Ombria Resort continued, and the company was able to sell 80 percent of residences from the first development stage. After 23 years of development, we are opening the golf course in spring 2023 and the hotel during the second half of the year. Portugal’s popularity as a travel destination continues to grow: in 2022, tourism revenue in Portugal was 19 percent higher in euros, compared to 2019.
At Helsinki-Vantaa airport, AVIA Real Estate continued the construction of Finland’s largest hotel opening in 2024. The recovery of air traffic and increased number of passengers was reflected in increased real estate demand in the airport area. The use rate of the area’s hotels was over 90% during several months.
In our real estate investments, R8 Technologies introduced a demand response service, which saved customers a total of 300,000 euros during approximately 6 months. The company also saved 15,000 tons of CO2 emissions. The energy crisis accelerated the company’s business growth further.