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Foncière des Régions commits to coworking push as sector 'shifts toward service'

French real estate investment trust Foncière des Régions aims to more than double its number of office assets that offer co-working space as it adapts to changing client demand, deputy general manager Olivier Estève said during an earnings call.

The REIT opened its first co-working spaces in Paris and Marseille, France, in late 2017, with 550 work stations in total. Foncière des Régions now plans up to four more locations in 2018: two in Paris; one in Bordeaux, France; and possibly one in Milan where it is looking at a site, according to Estève.

The move is a reaction to a broader change within the real estate sector, said Estève. "One of our convictions is our industry is shifting towards a service industry," he said. "The needs of our partners and clients are evolving. They need more flexibility, they need to tackle the talent war, and retaining and attracting talent and millennials is much more of an issue for them. All executives have understood that real estate is more than just a simple shelter, but a real driver to sustain transformation and performance."

Estève added that the REIT does not want to "leave the flow to other players" as the European office market embraces the co-working trend.

Foncière des Régions reported recurring net income for the full year 2017 of €391.2 million, up 10% from €356.2 million for 2016. On a per-share basis, recurring net income was €5.31, up 1% on the year.