|HF CEO comments:|
"Due primarily to the continuing and unprecedented quantitative easing by the U.S. Federal Reserve, we have seen continuous improvement in most of the core sectors of the U.S. commercial real estate capital markets, especially in the public markets. Generally, these improved conditions coupled with a slowly-improving economy continue to benefit certain sectors of the private debt and equity markets for select commercial real estate transactions, especially core properties in the major tier one markets and distressed assets in select major markets, when compared to the transaction environment in 2009 and in the first nine months of 2010. As evidenced by our total transaction activity in both the fourth quarter and for the full calendar year of 2011 when compared to the transaction activity in the comparable periods in 2010, we believe we grew our market share and expanded our EBITDA margins, even with the increased costs associated with our head count growth of 71 associates, an increase of 16.6% compared to the same period in 2010. Just as we have consistently done since the second quarter of 2009, our strong performance during the fourth quarter and full calendar year of 2011 allowed us to further strengthen an already strong balance sheet and grow our cash position to $141.8 million," said John H. Pelusi, Jr., HFF, Inc.'s chief executive officer. "As we have repeatedly stated over the past several quarters, there remain a number of headwinds that have the potential to negatively impact the improving conditions in the overall economy, the capital markets and the commercial real estate markets, especially in the U.S. Global issues such as the Eurozone's continuing inability to solve its collective sovereign debt crisis and the related tier one capital issues in the majority of the European banks, the continued unrest and tensions in the Middle East, sovereign debt concerns in the U.S. coupled with serious budget issues at the federal, state and local levels combined with continuing high unemployment levels are headwinds that, individually or collectively, have the potential to derail the slowly improving economic and capital market conditions, especially in the U.S. Generally speaking, the U.S. commercial real estate property level fundamentals, while continuing to improve in select tier one markets and in select property types such as multi-housing and hospitality, remain challenged. Given that property level fundamentals have historically lagged the U.S. economy, we expect them to remain challenged for select property types, especially in secondary and tertiary markets throughout 2012. These aforesaid headwinds have the potential to adversely impact transaction volumes relative to past historical norms in the U.S.," said Mr. Pelusi.
"As evidenced by our strong performance over the past nine quarters, we were again able to increase our year-over-year revenues, operating income, EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA, and earnings per share, as well as further strengthen our strong balance sheet and cash position. We believe we were again able to increase our market share as well as continue to strategically grow the Firm both through organic growth and through attracting high-quality producers from our competitors as evidenced by our 16.6% employment growth and the opening of offices in Tampa, Florida and Austin, Texas. Our full year operating income, EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA, and earnings per share in 2011 also represents our highest levels of such measures since our initial public offering in January 2007. During 2012, we will remain focused on continuing to improve our competitive position in the market and strategically growing our market share through organic growth and the continued recruitment of high-quality, talented associates, and we are already off to a great start with the opening of our 20th office in Denver, Colorado," said Mr. Pelusi.
"We believe our 191 transaction professionals, who have an average tenure of approximately 17.5 years in the commercial real estate industry, coupled with our enhanced disciplined management oversight, will enable us to continue to provide value-add winning solutions for our clients as they navigate these constantly changing inefficient capital markets. We remain grateful to our clients who continue to show their confidence in our ability to create and execute winning strategies for them. Finally, we would like to thank our associates who continue to demonstrate their ability to quickly adapt, innovate and share their collective knowledge from each transaction to provide superior value-added services to our clients," added Mr. Pelusi.