US - Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) suffered a 61% fall in earning in the fourth quarter of 2008, bringing the firm's total net income for the year to $84m (€65.2m).
Figured released on Friday showed the net income for 2008 was $84m, down from the $256m reported in 2007, however, JLL's 2008 revenue was $2.7bn.
According to JLL, net income dropped in the fourth quarter to $41m, compared to $105m for the same time last year, because of large transaction costs from the Asia Pacific Hotels businesses the previous year.
Colin Dyer, chief executive officer of JLL, said: "Through focused execution for our clients, we gained market share and maintained revenues in 2008 while aggressively managing our own costs…we will remain flexible across our operations to align the company to current market conditions."
The full year's results included severance charges of $23m, which came from reducing staff numbers in anticipation of the effects of the global economic crisis.
Total operating expenses increased by $2m in 2008 and stood at $2.5bn. During the fourth quarter, JLL changed its credit agreements to improve financial flexibility. The total borrowing capacity under the firm's agreements is $870m and their maturity is June 2012.
Revenue in the Americas region increased by 22% to $933m and was driven by acquisition of The Staubach Company and Kemper's. Leasing revenue increased by 52% in 2008 while management services revenue increased 17%. Transaction services revenue increased 26%.
Europe, Middle East and Africa's (EMEA's) total revenue for 2008 was $871, down 6% from last year and caused mainly by weakening foreign currencies against the dollar and a 44% decline in the capital markets and hotels.
Management services revenue increased by 36% for the year helped largely by the purchase of a French project development services firm in late 2007. Leasing revenue in the regions increased 9%, while operating expenses increased 2%.
The Asia Pacific regions' revenue was $536m compared to $602m in 2007, influenced by a large transaction advisory fee in the hotels business. Transaction Services revenue dropped 27% however, management services revenue increased by 19%. Operating costs were $532m for the year and remained fairly stable throughout.
LaSalle Investment Management weathered the financial crisis relatively well, with revenue of $352m for the year compared to $371m in 2007.
However, it was only able to raise $2.9bn of equity compared to $10.1bn in 2007, reflecting investors' caution in the current economic turmoil, and made half the amount of investments on behalf of clients.
The limited availability of financing affected the sale of assets, which caused Incentive fees to drop by $29m in 2008.
However, Dyer is confident the credit markets will open up and remains positive about the future.
"We are seeing corporate credit markets coming back, we're seeing spreads coming in, for example across Europe and the US, small but the trends are there. When that happens and confidence begins to be restored against the market where there is distressed selling capital market transactions will pick up," he said during a conference call.
JLL said it would continue to take "aggressive staffing and cost actions in response to the global economic slowdown."
"Our investors in LaSalle Investment Management, who are the only people that actively make investments on behalf of clients in our firm, are being very cautious. Last year investment levels were half for 2008, down to $4bn and the run rate is currently much lower than that, but they are deploying money on behalf of clients and in the funds where they see exceptional opportunities," said Dyer.
According to Dyer, there is already potential opportunities in the UK and he expects to see quality assets at attractive prices in the US fairly soon.
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