In 1995, Pandox was formed when Swedish companies Skanka and Securum combined their hotel properties to form a jointly owned company. The aim of the company was to focus on investment in one type of asset: hotel properties.
In 1997, the company was listed on the stock exchange. CEO Anders Nissen has been with Pandox since the beginning. “We doubled the portfolio within the first two or three years, so then we expanded out of Sweden,” says Anders. “We went private again 2004, but back onto the stock market in 2015, which takes us to now.”
The company started with just 17 hotels in Sweden, but 20 years later, Pandox has grown into one of the leading hotel property owners in Europe, with 120 hotels in in ten countries – Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands.
Most Pandox properties are leased out on a long-term basis to hotel operators such as Scandic and Nordic Choice Hotels as well as more global operators such as Radisson Blu, InterContinental Hotels Group and Hilton. As well as leasing out properties, Pandox runs the hotel operations for about 20% of the company’s portfolio.
According to Anders, the company has a three-pronged strategy for success:
- Geographic diversification
- High-quality portfolio
- Market knowledge
By having a wide geographic area of investment, the company ensures that it can benefit from the hotel business cycle. Having quality hotels means investing in renovation, development and good management.
“If you have a quality portfolio, it may happen that the market slows but there is always a demand for hotels; maybe not for 11, maybe not for 15 hotels, but if you have one of the best and if you are good at what you are doing, then it’s always going to be okay,” says Anders. And Anders says it’s equally important to know the markets, choosing prime hotels in key destinations. The company invests in large hotels only, as they are lower risk and deliver stronger cash flows.
The Pandox spirit
Pandox has an informal management style, promoting flexibility and autonomy in the workplace. Says Anders, “You don’t have be in at 8.00. We have a flexible workplace in which our highly professional employees have the space to have a fulfilling private life, while still meeting challenges and targets on the job.” Anders wants employees to think for themselves, not rely on rules. “That’s how you build a world-class team – not by telling people what to do. You let them think, you let them be a part of the decisions, but also make sure they know who they report to.”
Anders also says his leadership style is about “instruction, coaching, and delegation”.
“You get a team together, you make sure that everybody has their role, but you allow for creativity and spirit.”