December 2018 | Interview: Maristella Diniz -Managing Director, GTIS Partners
Managing Director, GTIS Partners
1- How can you briefly describe GTIS Partners’ mission and operations?
GTIS Partners mission is to invest in assets that generate value for our clients, employees and stakeholders, providing profitability, longevity and sustainable development to ensure value-creation and tangible benefits to the environment and society as a whole.
The company is a global real estate firm headquartered in New York with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Sao Paulo, Paris and Munich. The firm was founded in 2005 and operates in a vertically integrated operating business in each of its chosen markets in the United States and Brazil. With expertise in structuring, design, development and asset management, GTIS` professionals oversee residential, office, industrial/logistics and hospitality projects from concept to completion.
2- How do you identify attractive investment opportunities?
GTIS dedicated research professionals work hand-in-hand with its investment teams to identify macro trends and take a local approach to investing with on-the-ground teams. Once we define our strategy and market segments with acceptable risk-adjusted returns we actively pursue opportunities in the chosen markets with local relationships.
As part of our strategy in Brazil we are looking for investments in distressed opportunities, real estate credit and structurally undersupplied sectors such as affordable housing.
3- Which are the main drivers of real estate investment in Brazil today? In this context, what would be the most favored markets and segments?
The main drivers for real estate in Brazil are inflation, interest rates and personal income. To consider this tripod working with a proper balance we still must see, in the next few years, the generation of jobs and the return of growth in personal income.
GTIS believes that with a favorable macro scenario, the residential segment, especially affordable housing, logistics and office projects will perform well. In this respect hospitality sector for sure will also be favored considering the return of consumption, business and leisure travel in the main cities of the country.
4- What can you tell us about the acquisition of Brazil Hospitality Group (BHG) and what does it mean for GTIS Partners’ strategy?
GTIS Partners had the opportunity to participate in the privatization of Brazilian Hospitality Group (BHG), Brazil’s largest publicly-traded hotel company, via a delisting tender offer in partnership with GP Investments. GTIS believes that an investment in BHG represents an opportunity to invest in an irreplaceable portfolio of hotels at substantial discount to replacement cost. BHG, formed in 2009, was Brazil’s third largest company in 2014 by total keys owned and managed of around 9,200 keys across 50 hotels. GTIS believes an investment in BHG represents an opportunity to take advantage of the future industry consolidation.
BHG is one of the major investments of GTIS in Brazil and we believe in the value added potential via renovations and rebranding of the hotels and growth with accretive acquisitions.
5- How can you describe the current hotel market in Brazil?
The current hospitality market in Brazil is slowly recovering from the deep crisis in the economy. Part of this recovery results from economic growth but also from the closing of several hotels that helped in the balance of demand and supply.
With very different characteristics, each region has its own challenges. As an example, Rio de Janeiro, very dependent on oil and gas industry and local and foreign tourism is just now starting to improve, with a more efficient security policy promised from the recently elected governor. Also with a new regulation for Pre Salt field extraction, we expect a recovery in the oil sector and the level of royalties collected.
Some locations are still suffering because of over supply produced for the Olympic Games and World Cup.
6- Does GTIS have plans for investments in other countries of the region?
Nowadays the company is very focused on US and Brazil markets and not looking specifically in other countries of the region. More recently the company established GTIS Brazil Infrastructure to pursue investment opportunities in Brazil in energy generation and transmission, with a focus on renewable energy and technology assets.
7- Palácio Tangará Hotel was awarded the “Best Hotel of the Year” Award at SAHIC South America 2018. What does this award mean for GTIS and why?
The award received for Hotel Palacio Tangará has the meaning of a true recognition from the industry and we were very pleased with that.
As usually happens with all great projects, the development and opening of the Hotel Palacio Tangará was the result of a big effort from a large team and a vision of the potential Brazil has in the hospitality sector. Also the belief that Sao Paulo, as a city with the largest hospitality market in South America, can generate business for a luxury branded Hotel.
8- In your opinion, how does this type of conference contribute to the hotel industry?
Sahic Conference is very interesting and helpful in connecting different actors form the hospitality sector in the region. The exchange of different experiences and ways to do business, and cultural and regulatory aspects explored during the panels enrich the experience.
9- Which social network do you use most often and why?
To stay connected with family far from the city and friends I use mainly Facebook and Instagram. I am not a very active person in social networks as I dedicate most of my time to personal connections.
Professionally GTIS Partners doesn’t use social networks to communicate with our investors.
In our marketing effort for sales of residential products we have for sure the use of social networks such as Facebook and Instagram through the brokerage companies.
Also all hotels we have in our portfolio use social networks as part of their strategy to stay connected with our clients.
10- When you travel for pleasure, where do you choose to stay: hotel or Airbnb?
I choose Hotels. I recognize that Airbnb is a real option for all destinations I visited recently but I prefer the service and convenience of a Hotel. Usually I research on the web through various channels, including OTAs and Airbnb and whenever possible I book directly at the hotel website. I am open minded but still have a list of destinations with great Hotels I want to visit and experience.
Maristella Val Diniz joined GTIS in April 2010 as Managing Director of Development. Mrs. Diniz is responsible for overseeing all development and asset management activities in Brazil as well as for the identification of new business opportunities.
Mrs. Diniz has over 20 years of experience in development and management of residential, commercial and mixed-use projects in Brazil.
Prior to joining GTIS, she was the Chief Operating Officer of Lindencorp, a major São Paulo-based development and investment firm, where she was responsible for overseeing the company’s operations and the entire scope of its project development pipeline, as well as strategic planning and asset management.
Prior to Lindencorp, Mrs. Diniz worked at several real estate companies including Cyrela, Tecnisa and Birmann. At Birmann S.A., she worked directly with GTIS Senior Managing Director João Teixeira on the development of high-end residential projects, including planning and execution of supplier contracts, coordination of project timelines and approvals, project marketing and unit closings. Mrs. Diniz studied Architecture and Urbanism at Federal Architecture University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), and received a graduate degree in Business Administration from Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV).