In 2022, six of Pontos’ experts from just the Helsinki office influenced in 14 different committees in organizations that promote active and long-term ownership.
The organizations include several instances promoting private equity investment, real estate investment and board competence and collaboration – all seeking to develop industries sustainably and interactively. Their operations are also driven by the sustainability of the real estate and construction industry. Pontos’ team worked actively, among others, in the Directors’ Institute Finland, the Finnish Venture Capital Association, Green Building Council Finland and Finnish Property Owners Rakli.
Collaboration with organizations is a very practical way of participating in creating practices that benefit the industry, all the way from applying taxonomy to increasing transparency in society.
Collaboration is the cornerstone of active ownership. By participating in the operations of industry organizations and associations, Pontos can influence the development of real estate and private equity investment industries and ownership.
In July 2022, Pontos sold its holdings in data center and cloud delivery company Ficolo, which we invested in 2017 together with Taaleri. The company grew during our ownership an average of 30% annually, and it was acquired by Digital 9 Infrastructure plc for a purchase price of approximately 135 million euros.
Ombria Algarve sold 80 percent of its Viceroy Residences during 2022 and is ahead of its sales targets. The residences, which are operated by the American luxury hotel operator Viceroy, are five-star residences which provide their owners with a 5% guaranteed rental income for owners for the first five years, as well as an access to the resort’s five-star hotel and services such as a signature golf, several restaurants and a spa that can be used 10 weeks a year.
Ombria is a sustainable five-star luxury development in the Algarve, Portugal, containing residences, a hotel and villas built around an 18-hole golf course, forming a unique village community along with services. Portugal’s popularity as a travel destination continues to grow – during 2019–2022, tourism has yielded 19 percent more in euros despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Between January and December 2022, a total of 13.5 million people visited the country, with tourism recovering and nearly reaching the pre-pandemic level.
Viru Keskus opened a renewed food court in summer 2022 and diversified its service offering, including well-being and leisure services.
The renewed 1,500 m2 food court has 15 cafés and restaurants, open from early morning until late in the evening. The covered, and in the future also warmed, terrace of the area will also extend to Tammsaare Park, which is a rarity in the restaurant areas of shopping centers. Unlike in traditional shopping center restaurant worlds, the customer can compile a meal from a wide selection of high-quality, current and reasonably priced food from restaurant sales booths.
The company also developed a separate area for beauty and health stores on the fourth floor and expanded its well-being services: a padel court is now located on the roof of the center. Tallinn’s most reputable bookstore Rahva Raamat and its lunch café were expanded, and the cozy implementation along with armchairs and reading corners brought the company the international Bookstore of the Year award.
The effects of the energy crisis were moderate, as Viru Keskus utilizes AI-powered real estate automation by R8 Technologies for cutting energy consumption as well as emissions.
Hotel Viru celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022 in the vibrant Rotermann Square in Estonia. The highly recognizable landmark in the very heart of Tallinn, is Finnish-built, has been owned by Pontos since 1994 and is operated by the Finnish Sokotel Oy.
The same quarter includes Tallinn’s busiest shopping center Viru Keskus, which is 74% owned by Pontos. The entire commercial concept of the center, which is located in the same quarter as the hotel, is renewed during 2022 and 2023 and the hotel will see a complete makeover. In the future, the quarter will serve hotel customers, Tallinn’s residents and travelers alike more extensively with fashion flagship stores and restaurant experiences, among others.
Foundation stone for AVIA Real Estate’s largest hotel project in Finland was laid in February 2022. The twelve-floor building will be operated by Nordic Choice Hotels. A total of 719 hotel rooms will be built, and the hotel will be the largest in Finland according in terms of the number of rooms.
The hotel will cover approximately 38 000 brm2. Two hotel concepts will be included in the hotel building: Clarion & Comfort. The bottom floor of the hotel will contain a conference space equipped for a thousand people, along with several restaurants and bars as well as SPA and sauna facilities. A panorama restaurant with a terraced roof will be placed on one of the twelve floors.
The hotel is a seamless part of Avia City, where nature meets urban life and the airport in a compact and unique hub. This serves residents as well as companies in the area while increasing the area’s competitiveness internationally.
In early 2022, Renor Oy carried out a real estate deal in the vital Silkkitehdas city block in Tikkurila, Vantaa. Aktia Toimitilakiinteistöt Oy acquired the Teatteri and Värjäämö buildings developed by the company. The complex, which was first used in the 1950s and renovated in 2021, has a total net floor area of approximately 2,500 sft.
The Teatteri building leased by the City of Vantaa is used by two of Vantaa’s cultural institutions: Teatteri Vantaa and Tanssiteatteri Raatikko. The flexible small office space is shared by several instances.
The sales concerns the Tikkurilan Silkki city block complex renovated by Renor during the second stage. The company will continue to develop the historical, visible and central city block in Tikkurila by developing its oldest building block dating back to the 1930s.
In mid-2022, R8 Technologies launched its demand response service, Virtual Power Plant. Virtual Power Plant allowed R8’s customers to save over 300,000 euros during approximately six months.
Demand Response service enables reducing or increasing electricity consumption at a certain moment when demand and electricity prices are particularly high or low. This helps to reduce electricity consumption and CO2 emissions and to balance the electricity grid.
Demand Response service is an addition to the R8 service portfolio. The company’s main product Digital Operator is a digital add-on for properties’ energy management systems, automatically optimizing the management of heating and cooling systems in commercial real estate. It monitors and controls the indoor climate, detects system failures and manages the tasks of building service companies. In 2022, the operator made up to 5,900,000 automatic adjustments in the real estate of the company’s clients.
In October 2022, Valmet Automotive reached one million battery packs completed and delivered to automotive customers – in less than three years of starting its battery business. The rapidly growing battery business has, for the first time, made Valmet Automotive one of the world’s 100 largest component suppliers in the automotive industry, and the company is already one of the leading providers of outsourced battery system production. In the automotive industry, the company’s most important clients in the battery business are Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.
In addition to catering to the automotive industry, Valmet Automotive developed a battery system suitable for different agriculture and forestry machinery, heavy traffic vehicles and buses. The system was first employed in the fall through Ponsse’s EVI forest machine technology concept.
The company’s strategy is to expand the battery business for both existing customers and new products, industries and customers. The growth of the battery business is strongly tied to Valmet Automotive’s sustainable development goals, including carbon neutrality, personnel work satisfaction and the recycling of side streams from production. With these actions, the company supports the development of electro mobility and helps to curb climate change.
Valmet Automotive continues to rapidly expand its battery production capacity both in Finland and Germany.
Siltasairaala, the largest construction project in the history of the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa HUS was completed in summer 2022 by SRV in Meilahti, Helsinki. Construction work was completed according to schedule despite the challenging circumstances and COVID-19 pandemic.
Siltasairaala is one of Finland’s most demanding and extensive hospital construction projects.
The new hospital contains an abundance of technically demanding, so-called “hot hospital”, such as the emergency room, intensive care units and operating and imaging facilities. The new hospital has been designed and executed with a user-centric approach and it offers excellent opportunities for performing demanding, multi-disciplinary and multi-professional patient care.
The new hospital, located between Meilahti Tower Hospital and the Department of Oncology replaces the hospital functions of Töölö Hospital and parts of the Department of Oncology. It annexes the new hospital building to the adjacent buildings, forming a unified and practical complex.
Pontos’ portfolio company Hintsa Performance raised 5.1 million euros to make its well-being and performance solutions available to a wider audience with the new Hintsa App. Financiers include business angels, such as UNILever’s former CEO, Paul Polman, and Charles Plowden, former senior partner at Baillie Gifford & Co, who became the new Chair of Hintsa’s Board of Directors during 2022.
The first corporate customers have already started using the app and provided positive feedback. The science-based well-being coaching, which has previously been used by top athletes and company executives, is first made available to all customer company employees and then to consumers. Individual coaching in the app is based on optimizing health, well-being and performance.