The fourth quarter of 2020 was another tough one for Cushman & Wakefield, putting an end to a tough year for the commercial real estate giant.
Cushman reported a net loss of $27.3 million in the fourth quarter, its third consecutive quarterly loss in 2020. Quarterly revenue was $2.3 billion, a decrease of 13 percent over the same time the previous year. The pandemic was once again the culprit, as leasing activity remains lower than it was in 2019.
The firm recorded $388.7 million in revenue from leasing, down by 36 percent from the same time last year. Revenue from investment sales activities was $319.3 million, down 12 percent from a year ago.
But there was some good news: Fourth quarter leasing revenue was up 21 percent over the previous quarter, and investment sales revenue more than doubled, showing some signs of recovery.
“Our fourth quarter result is the balance of encouraging signals on business activity, especially in brokerage, and validation of our commitment to operational excellence,” said CEO Brett White during a Thursday earnings call. “We have executed very well in a very fluid and uncertain environment.”
For all of 2020, the company recorded a net loss of $220.5 million, and revenue of $7.8 billion — a 10 percent dip from 2019’s number.
Still, the loss was partially offset by the stable income from the company’s property and facility management sector.
The firm’s cost saving efforts of about $300 million in 2020 also contributed to mitigate the loss, said CFO Duncan Palmer, who will be stepping down from the position on Feb. 28. Neil Johnson has been appointed as a new CFO.
Though the pandemic-driven downturn continues, executives expressed some optimism about the future during the call.
“As we look ahead, most economists are cautiously optimistic that the worst of the pandemic impact on the economy is largely behind us,” said Kevin Thorpe, the company’s chief economist. “By extension, the worst of the impact on the property market is also largely behind us.”