FirstService wants to be first when it comes to real estate services. Its FirstService Residential subsidiary is one of North America's largest residential community property managers, and oversees some 7,000 low- and mid-rise properties (including condominiums, cooperatives, homeowner associations, and master-planned communities) spanning 1.6 million units across the US and Canada. The firm's Property Services subsidiary offers home and commercial repair and other services such as painting and home storage installation through company-owned sites and franchisees. FirstService separated from commercial real estate services provider Colliers International Group in mid-2015 to focus on residential management and property services.
FirstService operated three business segments during 2014: Residential Real Estate Services, which made up 34% of its revenue for the year; Property Services (8% of revenue); and Commercial Real Estate Services (58% of revenue), which it exited in June 2015 after separating from Colliers International Group.
The company's Property Services segment operates under franchise brands including Paul Davis Restoration, CertaPro Painters, California Closets, College Pro Painters, Pillar to Post Home Inspectors, Floorcoverings International, and Service America.
FirstService generated 57% of its total revenue in the US (in 22 states) during 2014, while another 13% came from three provinces in Canada. The rest came from Australia (9%) and Europe and other countries (21% of revenue) -- though the company exited these markets after separating from Colliers International Group in mid-2015.
FirstService's revenues have grown by more than 35% since 2010 mostly as its commercial and residential services businesses have flourished with the strengthening housing and rental markets in the US. Despite growing operating profits over the past few years, the company suffered losses in 2012 and 2013 as it paid out a larger amount to non-controlling interests than what it generated in earnings.
The company's revenue climbed 16% to $2.7 billion in 2014 with double-digit growth across all three of its business segments. Commercial Real Estate Services revenue (under its now-separated Colliers International Group subsidiary) drove most of the growth, jumping 21% on increased investment sales, leasing, and property management activity (about one-third of that came from acquisitions). The company's Residential Real Estate Services segment grew 9% thanks to higher property management contract wins (about one-fifth of the growth was driven by acquisitions).
Strong revenue growth in 2014 launched FirstService back into the black for the first time since 2011, with net income spiking to $43.3 million in 2014 (compared to a loss of $21 million in 2013). The company's operating cash levels jumped 37% to $159 million in 2014 on higher cash earnings.
FirstService plans to expand its line of service offerings and extend its service reach into new geographic markets, both organically and through selective acquisitions. FirstService's mid-2015 separation from its commercial services arm, Colliers International Group, allowed the group to focus more on its residential management and property services.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In September 2014, the company bolstered its residential property business' marketshare in key California and Texas markets after acquiring Euclid Management Company and Association Management Services, respectively. The deals added more than 450 homeowner association properties and 100,000-plus units to FirstService's residential property portfolio.