How was the mood at Expo Real? Without really having the time to go into the question very deeply at the moment, what was surprising about it this year was the lack of pessimism. This is in part the power of lowered expectations. If 2008 was total shock and bewilderment, 2009 was just plain deep despondency while in 2010, there was perhaps some glimmers of hope that perhaps looked a bit naive a year later when the Euro seemed to be crashing in the second half of 2011.
Basically, it was about what you’d expect for a year in which the first six months saw a decent number of deals going through, while the second saw a retrenchment setting in. One major developer was pleased to see some senior people from banks actually showing up, bringing with them specific plans and policies for new loans. You also hear less moaning these days about the lack of capital, as the companies with the know-how and financial muscle to do projects and investments are doing just that.
It’s been said so often that there’s “plenty of equity around” that it was eye-opening to hear some fund managers complain they were having real trouble coming up with the money to spend on good deals. Business is moving on, but there are fewer, and different people doing it now. So, a boatload of pragmatism, a decided lack of the usual doom and gloom, and a hint of confidence by those who’ve been left standing. Could be worse.
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