Real estate management and investment juggernaut Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated (JLL) unveiled that its quarter end revenues in December 2021 reached $5.95 billion – surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 7.97%. JLL, which belongs to the Zacks Real Estate – Operations industry, also revealed quarterly earnings of $8.66 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $6.68 per share.
Overall, JLL fourth-quarter revenue and fee revenue increased 23% and 42%, respectively.
According to Nasdaq, over the last four quarters, the company has surpassed consensus EPS estimates four times.
The Americas led the full-year growth among geographic segments, contributing 78% of the consolidated RES fee revenue increase on a local currency basis. This aligns with JLL’s 2021 research of US domination in the real estate tech space as the country continues to account for the most company conceptions and fundraising – 50% of funded companies over the past decade.
Christian Ulbrich, JLL’s CEO, attributed the healthy – and surprising – earnings growth to increased strength in the leasing and capital markets, as well as expanded emphasis on its technology investments.
“During the past year, we made incremental investments in our business to drive future growth and [we] also increased capital returns to shareholders,” said Ulbrich. “As we enter 2022, JLL is well-positioned to seize the significant opportunities across the commercial real estate sector and continue to generate long-term value for stakeholders.”
Over the past several years, JLL has doubled down on its technology stack. Within his first year of being appointed CEO, Ulbrich launched JLL Spark, a $100 million venture capital fund that invests in proptech startups. The Spark fund itself was a groundbreaking innovation when it launched, as it was the first proprietary proptech investment vehicle set up by a real estate incumbent.
At the end of 2021, the fair value of the companies technology investment totaled approximately $350 million, up from nearly $100 million a year earlier, driven in part by approximately $140 million of valuation increases.
Following that launch two years later, Ulbrich created a brand new business division, JLL Technology, to help clients accelerate their everyday use of proptech.
In a fourth quarter earnings call on Monday, Ulbrich noted, “Technology is a key differentiator for JLL, and our focus continues to bring the best technology to our clients and raise the productivity of our brokers and account managers.”
The company’s technology arm has maintained a focus on its “tenant experience stack.” Be it conversational smartphone workflow app JiLL for single occupiers, tenant amenity app HqO for multi-tenanted commercial buildings, or resident experience app Livly for multifamily buildings.
In 2021, the company was chosen by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to partner with in vetting potential proptech solutions for more than 400 million square feet of city-owned and -managed properties.
“The broad capabilities of our fully integrated global platform are resonating with clients, driving strong top and bottom line results and significant free cash flow generation,” Ulbrich added.