Ethical Property in the UK and in France
2013/14 has been another successful year for Ethical Property in the UK. Highlights of the year include increases in occupancy, significant improvement in our financial performance, further recovery in our property values and the opening of two new centres.
Our biggest project to date, The Foundry, opened its doors in September 2014. This is an innovative, collaborative project of which the company is justly proud. It is one of the largest social investment projects of the last few years, and proves how powerful the partnership of social impact investors and Ethical Property can be.
A few months before The Foundry opened, we had a public opening of Brighton Open Market, which was attended by 4000 people. This project provides both studio workshop accommodation owned by the company, and an open market offering affordable food and produce to the local community.
Across our portfolio of 15 owned centres, we saw occupancy levels of almost 97% as of September 2014 with space enquiries up 25%. We now have 274 tenants in these building, 92% of which find that working within our buildings helps them to fulfil their strategic objectives.
Although we are meeting the needs of more organisations than we have ever done before, we are still identifying considerable unmet demand across the country. As a result of this we want to continue growing and plan to have a share issue in 2015, which, with continued support from Triodos Bank, will fund some of that growth.
At the beginning of this financial year, we set ourselves targets to improve the return to shareholders. This strategy has been successful; our Operating Profit has significantly improved, by 15% from £ 605,248 to £ 697,232. The balance sheet has improved partly as a result of this increased profitability, but also due to continued improvements in property values across the country.
Looking forward, we want to continue to build on our successes with further growth and we are excited by the possibilities and the opportunities we see ahead of us. For more information please visit www.ethicalproperty.co.uk.
ETIC's head office is based in Lyon, where ETIC opened its first centre in 2012: Le COMPTOIR, a 350 m² co-working space for social entrepreneurs as well as a conference centre, managed by ETIC but owned by the French ethical bank La Nef.
In 2013, ETIC helped a large insurance company to create Le BeeoTop, a 6,000 m² office building for charities and NGOs in Paris, a building that ETIC manages to this day.
ETIC has also developed and invested in three projects, raising € 1.8m from 60 ethical shareholders and € 1.7m from Frances state financial institution La Caisse des depots. This capital, combined with bank loans and crowdfunding, allowed ETIC to finance:
ETIC's investors are small private shareholders including employees and tenants, as well as business angels and social investment funds. Ethical Property Belgium has invested € 220k and Ethical Property UK has invested € 10k as well as a € 50k loan.
ETIC is committed to cross-collaboration between the Ethical Property family members. They developed two systems to increase sharing across the family: a video-conferencing system and a social network named Social Change Platform. Initially developed with ethical property in mind, those systems have now attracted other organisations who manage ethical spaces and networks.