ECONOMY

Regus to search for partner

Regus, the British office-leasing company, is quite happy after a three-year presence in Greece and plans to widen its range of services and become better known. The plan includes finding a local partner, says Mark Dixon, Regus’s founder and managing director, who set out the company’s activities and strategy in an interview. «Regus decided to expand into Greece after it found strong demand from multinationals working with us in other countries; in fact, we have done better here than in other countries,» he notes. Regus’s first office building on Vassilisis Sofias Avenue, in downtown Athens, is 50-percent leased out, while the second, on Kifissias Avenue, in the suburb of Maroussi, is 58.5-percent leased out 18 months after its launching. «We shall seek a local partner, a real estate development or construction company, or institutional investor, as our goal is to develop 10 business centers in Athens. We target an agreement by the end of the year, so as to forge ahead in 2003. Having a local partner with a good name will also help to attract Greek enterprises,» Dixon says. It is quite possible that Regus’s first move next year will be in Thessaloniki, where «demand is high.» As regards Athens, Regus «will look into cases of properties outside the city center, like the airport area, where the development of conference centers is favorable.» The company has recently introduced important changes in its operating model. For instance, «leases have been extended up to five years as an increasing number of clients asked for longer durations, hoping to secure lower prices.» Among new services are the «Regus Golden Membership Card,» which enables individual employees of client firms to use the services of Regus-run offices around the world. Another service is Regus Touchdown, addressed to those who wish to use office space for any number of hours. Regus now controls 430 office buildings in 52 countries, without owning them, and employs 2,600 people. Turkey’s recovery from crisis has been burdened by a political arena too lacking in the spirit of consensus. Time and time again coalition conflicts have cost the country dearly in higher interest payments and deterred foreign investment. The coalition government is the 15th government in 20 years and it was a political row between the prime minister and the president that sparked last year’s devastating financial crisis.