Mark Dixon, the billionaire founder of Regus, the world’s largest operator of serviced offices, has more than doubled his fortune in the past year as increased demand for flexible office space propelled the company’s share price to all-time high

Billionaire Doubles Fortune on Workspace Demand Surge

Mark Dixon, the billionaire founder of Regus Plc (RGU), the world’s largest operator of serviced offices, has more than doubled his fortune in the past year as increased demand for flexible office space propelled the company’s share price to an all-time high. Regus shares have surged 106 percent since last October, compared to a 30.3 percent gain in the FTSE 250 index. Dixon, 53, owns a 34.2 percent stake in the company valued at $1.1 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.“We think our growth is still just in its infancy,” Dixon said in an Aug. 27 interview with Francine Lacqua on Bloomberg Television’s On the Move. “What we measure with our customer base is — do they feel more confident? And we’re certainly seeing more confidence.”

Andrew Brown, a company spokesman, said Dixon declined to comment on his net worth.

Regus had 744.7 million pounds ($1.2 billion) in revenue in the first six months of 2013, a 22.3 percent increase from a year earlier. The company operates 1,600 business centers in 100 countries, and leases space to individuals and companies, including Google Inc. and Nokia Oyj. (NOK1V)

More than 1.5 million customers use Regus’ facilities, according to the company, which include offices, business lounges and conference rooms. It plans to increase the number of business centers it operates to 2,000 by next year, according to the company’s 2012 annual report.

‘Phenomenal Year’

“It’s been phenomenal for the past year,” said David Greenall, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in London, who has an “outperform” rating on the company. “There was a lot of distrust during the downturn, but every quarter its numbers have been in-line or better.”

Dixon founded Regus in Brussels, in 1989. A high-school dropout, he moved to Belgium after selling a U.K. bakery, The Bread Roll Co. While looking for an office in the capital, he was struck by the number of professionals working out of cafes and hotel lobbies. Brussels became the site of the company’s first business center.

He expanded into China, Latin America and the U.S. over the next decade. When Regus sold shares in an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange in 2000, the company had 335 offices in 48 countries.

The expansion hurt the company three years later, as vacancy rates soared in the aftermath of the global recession in 2001. The Bloomberg REIT Office Property Index dropped as much as 23 percent between August 2001 and January 2003.

‘Checkered History’

Its U.S. unit, Regus Business Center Corp., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2003. To raise money, Regus had to sell more than half of its U.K. business for 57 million pounds.

The company has managed the financial crisis of 2008 and its aftermath better, Greenall said.

“It had a fairly checkered history,” he said. “There’s been consistent demand, as companies look to reduce their cost basis. And you have to remember, they’re at least ten times bigger than their nearest competitor.”

Limited inventory has also helped. New office supply in the U.S. represented just 0.3 percent of existing stock, less than half the 10-year average of 1.2 percent, according to commercial real-estate services firm, CBRE Group. Fewer new office buildings has helped keep vacancy rates low and rent levels stable.

“For us, a slowdown is as much an opportunity as a threat,” Dixon said on Bloomberg TV in August.

To contact the reporter on this story: Devon Pendleton in New York at dpendleton@bloomberg.net

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

2 Responses to Mark Dixon, the billionaire founder of Regus, the world’s largest operator of serviced offices, has more than doubled his fortune in the past year as increased demand for flexible office space propelled the company’s share price to all-time high

  1. Michael PT says:

    If Regus is the largest global provider of serviced officers, who is in at number 2?

  2. mothafoukna says:

    Also Regus but probably under another name, form, whatever guess it is HQ.com

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