Local Supply Real Estate in Great Demand – But How to Invest?


A Berlin rating agency is dealing with the far-reaching change in the use of retail real estate: “The local supply sector is one of the winners. Investors appreciate its independence from economic cycles. There are still challenges – sustainability is one of them,” says the research of the Scope Fund Analysis.

Scope sees the reason for the structural change in the retail segment in the growing importance of e-commerce. “Real estate prices in this type of use have been falling for several years and are currently back at the level of 2016. The Covid 19 crisis has accelerated this trend.”

The agency is now investigating the different market behavior in the sub-segments. In principle, the following applies: “The systemically relevant local supply has separated itself from systemically irrelevant retail concepts. Especially in comparison to the textile retail trade, in which insolvencies are currently increasing, the food retail trade has recently developed well. Since many local supply companies are considered to be comparatively creditworthy and non-cyclical tenants, real estate with a focus on local supply – also due to their often long-term leases – have become significantly more attractive to investors. This has not changed in view of the current challenges. The consequences are rising prices for local supply properties such as retail parks.”

Nevertheless, according to the Scope analysts’ warning, local suppliers are also subject to change: “Not least from a sustainability perspective, issues such as organic food, regional products and animal welfare have increasingly come into focus. To what extent people’s consumer behavior is now changing again due to the high inflation will change will soon become apparent, since real losses in purchasing power will take place.”

The topic of ESG is becoming increasingly important for properties and food retailers, not least against the background of the energy crisis. According to Scope, many companies are trying to supply their properties with green electricity – often already produced with solar roof systems – because greenhouse gas emissions have been high so far. “The issue of waste and recycling also plays a major role in this segment. So there are enough tasks in this context and potential for optimization.”

“Both open and closed real estate vehicles are available to investors with a focus on the local supply segment. Scope currently has five investment vehicles for private investors: two closed and three open real estate funds. Another product has been announced.” What follows in the agency’s report of September 20, 2022 is a listing of funds such as “Dr. Peters Immobilienportfolio Deutschland I”.

The quoted report entitled “Nahversorgung – Stein der Weisen im Bereich Einzelhandel?” (i.e. “Local Supply – Philosopher’s Stone in Retail?”) does not contain any indication that interested investors not only have access to these vehicles for indirect investment in retail real estate – quite apart from direct investments. In Germany, for example, listed companies that are fully committed to investing in retail real estate have developed extremely well.

Shareholders of DEFAMA Deutsche Fachmarkt AG benefit from the many years of real estate, retail and capital market experience as well as the large network of the team at this company, which attaches great importance to lean cost structures and a clear strategy, a balanced mix of tenants and a solid financing basis. The DEFAMA share is traded in the m:access of the Munich Stock Exchange as well as on XETRA and in Frankfurt.

In addition, there is the special instrument of the listed REIT to invest in retail real estate. Deutsche Konsum REIT-AG invests sustainably in retail properties for everyday needs in established shopping locations away from the major cities. This strategy aims to achieve attractive, economically stable and income tax-exempt returns and distribute them as dividends. The company’s shares are listed in the Prime Standard of the German Stock Exchange.

Seal of Creditworthiness in a Changed Market Environment


Scope Ratings GmbH (Scope) has assigned a first-time issuer rating of BB/Stable to Luxembourg registered real estate developer MG RE Invest S.A. Scope has also assigned a first-time rating of BB to the company’s senior unsecured debt. It is a bold credit rating at a time when a whole range of general conditions for the industry are about to change.

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Third Bond from Photon Energy N.V.

Actions, Reports

The third bond from Photon Energy N.V., a family-run, listed Dutch developer and operator of solar power plants for its own electricity production and for third parties, is new to the URA observation.

“In addition,” adds Jens Höhl, Managing Director of URA Research GmbH, “there have recently been activities such as electricity storage and water treatment.” Photon III – like the partially exchanged 2nd bond (2017/2022, still EUR 24 million outstanding) – received 1 “URA Check”.


The analysts at URA Research see the following strengths:

  • The main source of sales is electricity generation: a stable cash flow with mostly government-guaranteed long-term terms.
  • Unusually detailed quarterly financial reports (but only in English) and increase of the interest coupon by a high 1% if the self-chosen transparency obligations are violated.
  • It is a “green bond”: the sustainability in the sense of a conformity of the use of funds and reporting with the green bond principles of the ICMA was confirmed by imug rating GmbH in a second party opinion with “very good”.
  • Bonds significantly oversubscribed (green bonds strongly supported by regulatory requirements) and increased by EUR 5 million to EUR 55 million.
  • Quarterly interest payments and commitment to a minimum equity ratio (a supporting capital increase took place in 2021).


The URA Research analysts see the following weaknesses:

  • Comparatively small providers in a market with low entry barriers; broad regional presence (head office in NDL, bond in DEU, operational, mainly in Eastern Europe and Australia).
  • Great dependence on the weather as well as on government regulations and subsidies (most recently in some countries retroactive deterioration).
  • However, increased development of countries like Australia, in which solar power is competitive even without subsidies.
  • EBITDA interest coverage and net debt / EBITDA only sufficient due to low returns (e.g. rising personnel costs as advance payments in project development) as well as high financial debt and interest expenses typical of the industry.
  • The balance sheet equity was only positive as of September 30, 2021 due to a high revaluation reserve for property, plant and equipment (IFRS); the latter can also melt away quickly in the event of operational problems or rising discount rates.
  • In the last 5 years always a negative free cash flow including interest income (negative earnings after taxes in 8 of the last 10 years, very high investments in new solar power plants, especially in the last 3 years); this is unlikely to change much due to ambitious growth plans (including seven-fold increase in the output of their own power plants by the end of 2024) despite the planned five-fold increase in Group EBITDA.
  • The issuer is a pure holding company with no operational business. In order to serve the bondholders, it is therefore dependent on the interest payments for the shareholder loans granted (and their repayment) as well as on distributions from the around 120 subsidiaries. The latter have high bank liabilities with numerous “financial covenants” (in some cases including distribution limits); most of their assets are pledged to banks.

ECB Sidelines Private Investors


In a research piece titled “Covered bonds at a turning point?” published by Scope Ratings the dominate role of the European Central Bank (ECB) for credit rating agencies becomes once more very obvious.

“The covered bond market is in upbeat mode. But while issuance has picked up significantly, public supply will remain well below the EUR 100bn mark of previous years”, says the report. The grim news for the relevance of the rating agencies for private investors lies in the following insight of Scope Ratings’ analysts: “Private investors remain sidelined as the market remains firmly in the grip of the ECB.”

The economies of scale of a rating agency come into full effect for investors when a large number of investors are confronted with a large number of issuers. In this case, the rating agency bundles analytical competencies in such a way that it makes the results of its research accessible through independent and easily understandable rating symbols. In a market full of investors and issuers, the rating agency acts as a true agent between these two sides of the market and helps to get to know each other better.

However, if the purchase of securities was mainly carried out by the central bank, it is crucial for the development of the rating agency to be recognized by the central bank. This is exactly where the problem is with all the rating agencies that are domiciled in Europe with their headquarters, because none of the European rating agencies has so far achieved the status of being recognized by the European Central Bank. Only the ratings of American agencies are relevant for the decisions of the European Central Bank.

Every rating agency operating in Europe must be registered or certified by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), according to the EU regulation on credit rating agencies. Only those who meet a large number of qualitative and quantitative requirements can afford an application for recognition. However, this effort does not guarantee recognition by the ECB.

But what are the factors behind the development of the covered bond market in Europe? “The key factor behind the increase has been the pickup of inflation,” said Karlo Fuchs, head of covered bonds at Scope. “Changes in the yield curve mean that positive-yielding covered bonds are again possible for tenors above seven to eight years. A year ago, investors had to buy long-dated maturities and significantly increase credit risk to get positive-yielding covered bonds.”

Fuchs notes that while EUR 28.3bn of new issuance since September is positive, it remains the tip of the iceberg. “As in previous years, publicly placed covered bonds will remain net negative this year so volumes need to be taken into the context of total market activity,” he said.

The ECB now holds more than 45% of covered bond benchmarks; more than EUR 710bn throughout all monetary operations. As such, changes to monetary policy can have significant repercussions on market activity. From a credit quality perspective, the most important impact will come from the orderly transition of retained covered bonds.

Asset and liabilty matching remains the most decisive factor for the risk profile and credit quality of covered bonds. We hope that the market’s largest investor is using its influence to encourage issuers to provide additional information on the share of retained covered bonds and the way and pace in which issuers are managing them to avoid a deterioration in programmes’ credit quality,” Fuchs said.

Although the term “covered bond” has established itself in the market and covered bonds are seen by investors as a separate asset class, the term conceals a large number of different securitisations. Therefore, the services of an independent rating agency are valuable to understand the differences between the instruments and, in particular, to recognize differences in creditworthiness. Covered bond harmonisation remains theoretical, as only five countries met the 8 July 2021 deadline.

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Little Risk of Systemic Contagion from the Evergrande Crisis


“China’s ghost cities” have become a familiar trope in Western media. Beyond Kangbashi, with its other-worldly stadiums and museums, there is Chengchong in southern Yunnan province; Binhai, outside the central city of Tianjin; and Tianducheng, in the Hangzhou suburbs, with its very own replica of the Eiffel Tower.

China’s ghost cities are in the news again because of the financial travails of Evergrande Group, China’s second-largest property developer which, teetering on the brink of default with outstanding debts of more than $305 billion. What effects the crisis can have and how German developers compare requires further analysis. Therefore, in the following some insights into this.

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

A Supermarket Portfolio Not so Super

Actions, Reports

A B (Single B) is shown on the Expo rating scale. In his Investmentcheck-News KW 36/2021, Stefan Loipfinger comes to a different conclusion, mainly due to the lack of willingness to provide information.

The Exporo classification measures the relative risk using important criteria that are of great importance when making an investment decision in the real estate sector. Points are awarded for six criteria – the more points, the higher the assessed risk. “It should be noted”, warns Exporo, “that the Exporo class represents a strong simplification of complex relationships and under no circumstances can all the risks that a property or a real estate project entails be considered. Investors should therefore not use the Exporo classification as the basis for their decision.”

“The supermarket portfolio” are securities without sales prospectus (WIB according to §3a WpPG or PRIIP). The capital is passed on to Wohninvest Holding GmbH. The project company 1, the WI Objektgesellschaft 100 GmbH & Co. KG, the project company 2, the WI Objektgesellschaft 82 GmbH, the project company 3, the WI Objektgesellschaft 84 GmbH & Co. KG and the project company 4, the WI Objektgesellschaft 98 GmbH & Co. KG the borrower to the Wohninvest group of companies. The project companies are planning to carry out renovation measures on the respective properties.

Exporo sees a “very experienced developer (Wohninvest Group) with whom Exporo has already successfully financed 12 projects, 6 of which have already been repaid.” Here are more of Exporo’s “keyfacts:

  • The traditional food retailing market is stable and, according to the Retail Real Estate Report, properties with a focus on local supplies are in great demand.
  • Established and strong tenants with constant cash flow who did not suffer any losses during the pandemic.
  • Rents are at market level and the leases are indexed; average lease term is 8 years.
  • Well-maintained condition of the portfolio; Necessary maintenance measures on the objects are factored in.
  • Abstract acknowledgment of debt in the amount of the loan.

In Stefan Loipfinger’s view, the documents provided are not sufficient for a qualified investment decision. In the opinion of Investmentcheck, in addition to the investor information sheet in accordance with Section 13 of the VermAnlG, further documents with the information of a sales prospectus as defined in Section 7 of the VermAnlG should be made available.

Investmentcheck transparency rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Investmentcheck has published the company’s answers: “Thank you for your request. When presenting the existing properties and financing projects on our platform, we attach great importance to transparently providing all information that investors need for their investment decision. This information can be found publicly for each project on the respective detail page on our platform. I would therefore like to ask for your understanding that we cannot answer the standardized inquiries due to the considerable additional work involved ”.

Accordingly, “willingness to provide information” and “placement numbers” did not receive a single star at investmentcheck.de.

Mario Draghi’s Repeated Flashes in the Pan

Analysts, Reports

Largely unnoticed, Italy’s stock market is currently changing from an ugly duckling to a proud swan, or rather to a hidden champion in international comparison. Or is this just a flash in the pan, like the one that the President of the European Central Bank has already kindled for all of Europe?

This change is primarily attributed to Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who launched structural reforms to help re-energize the recently sluggish and stagnant Italian economy. Francesco De Astis, Head of Italian Equity at Eurizon sees a first sign since the EU Commission recently raised its growth forecast for Italy for 2021 from 4.2 percent to 5.0 percent.

“The inauguration of Mario Draghi is a key factor in shaping the future of the country: For Italy it is an opportunity to demonstrate credibility and stability and thus to achieve greater and lasting visibility in the international environment,” says Francesco De Astis. Since 1982, structural economic growth has slowed after every economic setback and has never fully recovered. In addition, the economic divergence within the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) has increased since the global financial crisis of 2008, whereby the cumulative gap between Italy and the other EMU countries is now very large.

In order to counteract this, Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi is currently preparing government reforms, which will not least be necessary in order to receive the economic stimulus funds awarded as part of the 200 billion euro “NextGenerationEU” economic stimulus program. These include an anti-corruption campaign and streamlining of public procurement, tax reform, rules for foreign investment, more cybersecurity and streamlining measures for the Italian banking sector.

This has already led to reactions on the Italian stock market, says Francesco De Astis: “Those who closely follow the Italian stock market find that the market is gaining momentum and credibility every day; a credibility that is felt by domestic investors immediately after the new government took office, but recently also by foreign investors,.”

In a number of research papers, the Italian stock market is now seen as a favorite among the major European markets, he said.

Francesco De Astis sees the numerous IPOs – 15 since the beginning of the year – and the recent concentration of share buybacks as another strong signal. “This is a sign that entrepreneurs are again investing in Italy, in the Italian real economy, which promises structural and long-term growth.”

In addition to the banking sector, which has already recovered significantly in recent months, Francesco De Astis believes that “all those sectors which correspond to the main trends of the coming years and which are also the focus of attention when investing the resources of the Next Generation Fund are particularly promising”. He includes, for example, “the circular economy sector, which is likely to play an increasingly important role in the portfolios of institutional investors who are increasingly focusing on ESG issues”. He also favors the new tech sector, with its sub-sectors ranging from cloud computing, 5G, Internet of Things, big data to cybersecurity.

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Note: The picture does not show Mario Draghi.

China Has Already Achieved its Goal for 2021


“The growth of the Chinese economy was quite robust in the second quarter with a plus of 1.3 percent, but will slow down noticeably in the third quarter.” This is what Axel D. Angermann writes, who, as the chief economist of the FERI Group, analyzes the economic and structural developments in all of the markets that are important for asset allocation.

“After the economy had returned to the pre-corona growth path at the end of 2020 and the economic consequences of the pandemic for China had thus been practically overcome,” reports Axel Angermann, “the Chinese leadership began to reduce the monetary and fiscal policy stimuli that they had previously used to overcome the crisis.”

Attention has shifted again to the containment of the enormous imbalances within the Chinese economy and in particular the excessive indebtedness. “An outward sign of the changed priorities was the, by Chinese standards, extremely unambitious requirement to strive for growth of more than 6 percent in the current year, which in view of the low level of the previous year could hardly be missed from the outset”, says Axel Angermann.

The consequences: the volume of loans granted in relation to GDP is again as low as it was at the end of 2018, when a similar economic policy regime prevailed, and significantly fewer government bonds than in the two previous years. “The purchasing managers’ indices are still above the important expansion threshold of 50 points, but have been falling since the beginning of the year”, warns Axel Angermann. “Industrial production growth has declined by several percentage points, while retail sales growth has remained at a low level. The trend in imports remained positive until recently. In contrast, exports stagnated at a high level, which again led to a lower trade surplus towards the pre-Corona level. As a result, consumption, investment and foreign trade already contributed less to overall economic growth in the second quarter than in the previous quarter. There is much to suggest that this development will continue in the third quarter and that overall economic expansion will be slowed down as a result.”

Positive impulses from China for the global economy are therefore not expected for the time being, which has an impact in particular on those countries that benefit to a considerable extent from exports to China, i.e. many emerging Asian countries and, in Europe, Germany in particular. “However, strong negative effects also appear unlikely: China’s leadership is well aware that their approach is a balancing act that harbors the risk of higher unemployment and social unrest. The stricter regulation of the private education system,” provides Axel Angermann an example, “is also likely to be due to the need to limit the financial burden on households for tutoring.”

He believes that the lowering of the minimum reserve ratios that the banks have to keep at the National Bank is more important: “This clearly sends the signal that they do not want to push ahead with reducing lending at any cost. There is therefore much to suggest that lending will stabilize at the lower level it has now reached. In the medium term, China’s economy would thus swivel on a course of moderate growth slightly below the 6 percent mark. The greatest risk remains that existing tensions with the US will result in a kind of cold economic war. An increasing decoupling of the two economic blocs from one another would not only jeopardize globalization, but also put Europe in an extremely difficult position.”

low angle photo of woman wearing white dress

Big International Banks Kept Beauty


In its 2021 banking study, the independent Swiss credit research institute Independent Credit View AG (I-CV) examined the global banking sector.

A universe of 47 credit institutions in 16 countries – including the D-A-CH region – was scrutinized using a comprehensive analysis with a stress test. The good news is that the major international banks are doing better than feared. “They are not part of the problem this time”, writes I-CV.

Despite the pandemic and global recession, major international banks are generally in good shape. Only a few banks have structural problems. “Based on our current bank study, we expect mostly stable to positive developments this year and also in 2022. And this despite the probable rise in problem loan rates. We see a robust basis thanks to the progress made by the banks in terms of sustainable profitability, capital and liquidity – also as a result of stricter regulation. In addition, there is massive support from governments, central banks and banking supervision for households and companies and – ultimately – also the banks. The average I-CV rating level is between A and A- and is thus higher than in the previous five years,” says Christian Fischer, lead author of the I-CV banking study.

The I-CV Banking Study 2021 takes numerous questions into account: How much does the pandemic affect the credit profiles of banks? What are the long-term challenges for the business models of banks in terms of structural change? How long will the low interest rate environment last and how much does the long-term refinancing program of the European Central Bank help to counter the pressure on margins and to stimulate lending? And where can problem areas (black holes) open up in the banks’ balance sheets?

“With our extensive stress test, we have taken these questions and many other facts into account in order to provide bond investors with important guidance for their investment decisions. 29 European and 11 North American banks as well as 7 credit institutions from Australia and Singapore were put through their paces,” says Fischer.

North America & Asia versus Western and Southern Europe: the gap is widening

Regarding the results of the study, Fischer says: “The iceberg problem in the banking sector is the tail risks in credit and trading books as well as an appropriate identification and control of risks (the Archegos bankruptcy is an example). In general, 2020 and Q1-2021 surprised both positively and negatively. Despite solid financial figures, the business models of individual banks speak against a more positive view of creditworthiness. The macroeconomic situation and corona-endangered industries remain the most important risks in the short term. If there are no major geopolitical crises and market dislocations, the gap between banks from North America and the Asia-Pacific region on the one hand and banks from Western and Southern Europe on the other is likely to widen in the medium term. The latter suffer from overcapacity and often do not earn their imputed capital costs. In investment banking, European banks are struggling to keep up with US investment banks only in sub-segments, but they are in danger of losing ground. Spreads and yields for bonds from all layers of the capital structure of the banks (senior preferred, senior non-preferred, tier 2, additional tier 1) as well as the risk differentiation are often insufficient”.

In conclusion, banking expert Fischer says: “We recommend bonds along the entire balance sheet structure of defensive banks with good credit ratings. While senior preferred instruments are acceptable for all banks in the study, we recommend senior non-preferred and subordinated bonds only for selective issuers. We would focus on new issues (premium) as well as terms (first call dates) in the shorter range. In addition to the above-mentioned banks from North America and the Asia-Pacific region, Northern European credit institutions are among the banks with the highest creditworthiness and therefore security-conscious investors should pay special attention to them. “

photo of red and white toy car

Investment Grade Møller Mobility

Read, Reports

Møller Mobility thrives in symbiosis with Volkswagen.

Nordic Credit Rating (NCR) assigned a ‘BBB-‘ (that reads triple B minus) long-term issuer rating to Norway-based car importer and retailer Møller Mobility Group AS (Møller Mobility). The rating agency’s outlook for this credit rating is stable. At the same time NCR assigned an ‘N-1+’ (that reads N One plus) short-term issuer rating. NCR has also assigned ‘BBB-‘ (triple B minus) issue ratings to Møller Mobility’s senior unsecured bonds.

Nordic Credit Rating was established as a financial infrastructure company by 30 Nordic banks and institutions to lower the threshold for issuers to obtain and maintain a credit rating. Being registered with European Securities Markets Authority as a credit rating agency, their research is produced by an analytical team and is based on local expertise.

“The long-term rating reflects the company’s strong position in its core market. It is further supported by the company’s close relationship over almost 75 years with car manufacturer Volkswagen AG, which provides scale and diversification through a range of brands, and the joint venture Volkswagen Møller Car Finance. The rating is also underpinned by the company’s moderate financial leverage and strong cash position, supported by unutilised credit facilities”, is the rating agency’s rationale for this rating.

According to NCR, the rating is constrained by the company’s operating environment. It is a cyclical industry undergoing rapid change through the development of low-emissions vehicles, which could potentially affect the industry’s structure. “The company’s large off-balance-sheet repurchase portfolio, with a maturity profile of less than two years, could materially affect the company’s short-term liquidity and potentially result in losses should the market experience rapid deterioration”, warns NCR.

“The stable outlook reflects our expectation that Møller Mobility will maintain its market-leading position in its geographical segments and benefit from an economic recovery on the back of increased vaccination against COVID-19 and the easing of pandemic-related restrictions by mid-2021 in its core markets. It also reflects our expectation that Volkswagen will continue to deliver popular models of cars in a timely matter”, says NCR.

The rating agency sets the following standards for improving the rating (see also the Full Rating Report:

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

selective focus photography of magazines

Requirements Relating to Press Releases or Reports

News, Read, Reports

The text of publications must meet strict requirements.

The European Securities and Markets Authority considers that a credit rating or rating outlook should be accompanied by a press release or report. The press release or report should explain the key elements underlying the credit rating or rating outlook.

At least the following elements should be included::

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Where it would be disproportionate in length to include the full underlying detail of the above elements in the press release or report accompanying the credit rating or rating outlook, the European Securities and Markets Authority expects that credit rating agencies make clear and prominent reference where this underlying detail can be directly and easily accessed through direct web-link. Notwithstanding this, the Authority considers that the inclusion of the core of the above elements in the press release or report is necessary and proportionate to the overall length of the press release or report.

low angle view of slightly opened door structure

Modular Market Reports – New Product From Industrialport


“The current Corona development and the associated lockdowns were a real blessing for industrial real estate in 2020”, writes Peter Salostowitz, Managing Director of Industrialport GmbH & Co. KG and lecturer for PropTech and Entrepreneurship at the Fresenius University, the test winner “Private Business Universities “.

“Hardly a week went by in 2020,” says Peter Salostowitz, “without a new large investor, developer or portfolio that has been sold. An end to this development is not yet in sight, as the financial resources from the other usage classes are now largely flowing in industrial properties.”

The decline of the previous supply structure in retail will require new supply channels, predict the experts from Idstein: “Whether these will compensate for the already experienced decline in demand on the part of the key industry in the future and whether the population’s increased financial fear will be an incentive to buy on the Internet is an exciting question.”

Regardless of these future questions, Industrialport emphasizes: “In any case, in the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the market for industrial real estate has shown itself to be significantly more resilient than other asset markets.” This is shown by the current report “Market in Minutes” industrial real estate market in Germany from Savills and IndustrialPort.

The IndustrialBundle market report from Industrialport is getting a big brother – the IndustrialKIT: “This modular market report enables you to evaluate our IWIP index data set on a daily basis. The evaluation can be created in different designs and in DE / EN. The previous IndustrialBundle elements can be combined with the new evaluation options. Of course, rental developments at the location can also be displayed. For a better classification, we also provide you with the value-driving parameters of the comparison cases that were included in the rent calculation.”

Why Art Rating Criteria Need to Be Repaired

Agencies, Criteria, Read, Repairs, Reports

The Artprice Report, covering 20 years of Contemporary Art auction history, is a basis for understanding why evidence-based “art rating” is more important and urgent today than ever before. The complexity and global nature of the art market has never been greater.

In the last two decades, decisive impetus came from China. “In 20 years,” writes Thierry Ehrmann, CEO and founder of Artprice by Artmarket.com, “the growth of Chinese turnover in the Contemporary Art segment has been phenomenal: multiplied by 65. Including Hong Kong (10%), China generated 33% ($659 million) of the global market in 2019) versus 35% ($695 million) for the United States.”

Thierry Ehrmann sees a multitude of sociological, geopolitical and historical factors, all of which contributed to the rapid rise of Contemporary Art in the global Art Market: “A marginal segment until the end of the 1990s, Contemporary Art now accounts for 15% of global Fine Art auction turnover, and is now its primary growth driver, having increased +2,100% over 20 years.”

Undergoing profound structural changes, with evermore artists (from 5,400 artists to nearly 32,000 today) and evermore artworks (from 12,000 lots offered to 123,000) the 2000 to 2019 numbers show an expansion also geographically, from 39 to 64 countries active in auctions.

“One of the primary factors in its growth was the relatively sudden accession of Chinese buyers to the market, whose arrival also fundamentally transformed it. With the explosion of the Chinese economy, wealthy entrepreneurs began taking an interest in art collecting, while others started buying artworks to diversify their investments.”

The increasing resemblance of the art market to the capital market leads to calls for agencies that – similar to rating agencies like S&P Global or Moody’s on the capital markets – provide investors with market data and data on risks as reliable data providers and opinion leaders.

“The emergence in China of an ‘art business’ sector was both rapid and impressive,” says the Artprice Report, “and it included the appearance of specialized art investment funds. Mimicking stock market practices, ‘shares’ in works were offered with a view to making significant capital gains, quickly if possible.”

“Meanwhile, China began to play a much more active role in the global market. Driven by frenetic economic growth,” goes the simple causality, “it became the new counterbalance to the United States (which it overtook for the first time in 2010). The Chinese eldorado became more and more attractive to international investors, including the world’s leading auction operator, Christie’s, which decided to focus its sales on Shanghai.”

China not only has an impact on market conditions, but also on Contemporary Art itself. In 2019, Jeff Koons’ status of world’s most expensive living artist was reconfirmed thanks to a sculpture which sold for $91 million. The object of the new record was “兔子” (Rabbit, 1986) – considered the most iconic of his works and, by extension, one of the most iconic works in the entire canon of Contemporary Art.

Art rating criteria need to be reconsidered. As the Artprice Report shows, the top positions of the internationally most sought-after artists are taken by the Chinese. This fact shatters, for example, the image of the People’s Republic of China that is widespread in the West as a hardly democratic state with restricted freedom of artistic expression. These restrictions should theoretically have a negative effect on ratings. According to evidence provided, free market conditions in China mobilized more capital and more artistic talent in such a short time than any other country in the world. The economically liberal working environment for cutting-edge artists in China seems to be more inspiring than for their peers in highly state-subsidized art sectors in the West. However, the relevance and siginificance of rating factors and the relationships with other rating criteria require further research.

Companies such as Artprice.com (changing its name to Artmarket.com) and Artnet.com are benefiting from these developments. For the latter, listed company, the share price has more than doubled in the last six months alone.

German Medium-Sized Bond Issuers Avoid German Government Loans

Read, Reports

The financial reports of medium-sized bond issuers in Germany published in 2020 were evaluated and analyzed by URA Research. The URA ratings for 7 bonds were confirmed. According to the report from Munich, the assessment has improved for 1 bond and deteriorated for 10 bonds.

The 3rd bond from Karlsberg Brauerei GmbH and the 6th bond from Neue ZWL Zahnradwerk Leipzig GmbH were newly included in the URA monitoring, reports Jens Höhl, Managing Director of URA Research GmbH.

URA Research notices the development of net financial debt in the observed companies. URA Research defines net financial debt as financial debt minus liquidity. “After all, half of the 13 issuers observed who published interim reports as of September 30, 2020 or at least June 30, 2020 were able to reduce their net financial debt or maintain their existing net liquidity.”

According to URA Research, in 2020, almost half of the issuers were also able to achieve a positive free cash flow so far. URA Research defines free cash flow as the inflow of funds from ongoing business including net interest income minus investment balance.

Missing inflows of funds due to the Corona-related slump in sales could therefore be at least partially offset by cost savings such as short-time work or the suspension of temporary work, by releasing funds in working capital and lower investments. This also fits in with the fact that only a few issuers use government loans. URA Research has no other findings on this.

The “URA stress test” for 45 companies monitored by URA Research shows a similar picture: here, too, almost half had a green light in this sense that it is estimated that the liquidity will last longer than 720 days (ie 2 years) after a 12-month sales decline of 25%. With a 50% drop in sales, it was still a good 15% of the companies.

Rating Repair of a German Hotel Consulting Company’s Credit Report

Bureaus, Read, Repairs, Reports

How does rating repair work in practice? The following is an example. A full rating repair needs even more than shown here, but this real example of a real company gives a first impression of what it’s all about. Rating repair differs considerably between different size classes of companies, type of organization, legal form, industry, etc. The following is an example of a consulting company that specializes in advising hotels.

The company uses the opportunities to work together in teams of freelancers and employees of the customers. Computers, data and software are the company’s most important assets that can be accounted for. The legal form of a GmbH is used to limit liability from business activities. It is therefore in the case of this consultancy not a function of this legal form to accumulate capital. Despite successful business activity, the balance sheet total is therefore low.

The example looks at the credit report from an international credit reporting agency for a German company. The report cannot be compared to an analysis by a Recognized Credit Rating Agency. However, information like the one shown here helps many suppliers, customers and other business partners as well as authorities before they decide on a business relationship. Wrong information can therefore have fatal consequences.

Every decision maker takes their first look at the summary. The company shown here is doing very well. This is evident from the excellent Credit Index, Risk Score, International Score and Probability of Default. This good assessment does not rule out that the report is incorrect. In particular, minor errors can be found which, although they do not significantly change the overall assessment, nevertheless create a false image of the company. Therefore, all details must also be checked. Examples of this are shown below. The consequence of the analysis can be to contact the credit reporting agency and ask for a correction of the data.

Key Financials and Payment Details Summary

“Days Beyong Terms” (DBT) are the average days beyond terms weighted by the age and amount of invoices. The calculation uses all trade lines received from suppliers of the Trade Payment Programme. The credit reporting agency points at the fact, that this is not a statistic based on representative and complete data. Available trade lines might contain occasional instances which are not representative. It is possible that companies with a high Days Beyond Terms pay within terms on other occasions.In the case of this consulting firm, the sales from suppliers are insignificant. Accordingly, no peculiarities in payment behavior are reported.

Auditor Detials, Business Purpose and Additional Industry Codes

The company shown here has been around for more than a decade. Over the years, the purpose of the company may have changed or the focus of its business activities may have shifted. If so, the consequences for the assessment should be examined. For example, it makes a big difference whether a company offers hotel advice or operates a hotel itself. Hotels have to expect massive losses due to the corona crisis. The industry will have to be assessed accordingly critically.The consultant here in the example is not directly affected by this development, so it remains to be seen whether he might even benefit from the need for restructuring in the hotel industry.

Score Summary

The Score Summary shows the Credit Worthiness “very low risk profile” and an Assessment: “The default risk is reckoned to be very low. The business connection can be approved.” With such a good credit rating, the only question for the assessed company is how the good credit assessment can be secured for the future.

Credit Limit and Contract Limit

The recommended credit limit is calculated using a formula that analyses information from a company’s financial accounts and payment record. The registered company credit limit is the credit reporting agency’s recommendation of the total amount of credit that should be outstanding at any one time. A Contract Limit is the suggested value of a contract that a company can handle. It is an assessment of the subject company and its suitability to carry out a specific contract. It is mainly based on value of the sales that a company can generate. The values shown here are very low, as if the consulting company could only place orders up to € 1k without collateral. Ratingrepair can help to raise the limit here. Various instruments are available for this, which require further advice in order to implement them.

Directors / Shareholders Summary and Current Directors

Credit bureaus get their information from public registers. When the consulting company was founded, three managing directors were appointed. Of these, however, two left the management after just a few years. In the meantime, the management is carried out solely by the majority shareholder. There is a need for correction here. Anyone who continues to research these people would potentially draw misleading conclusions from the information obtained.


As can be seen here, the shareholders were correctly recorded by the credit reporting agency when the company was founded. In the present case, the changes in the shareholder structure were not taken into account.In the meantime, the shareholders had changed. Two shareholders sold their shares. A new partner joined. However, this is not reported here. Since there are no longer any relationships with the old shareholders, this information should be corrected.

Beneficial Ownership

For certain businesses and industries the Anti-Money-Laundering law (Geldwäschegesetz – GwG) requires to check if the trade partner has a beneficial owner. This identification of the beneficial owner shall prevent straw man transactions and identify the natural person in whom the economic interest is being made. At legal persons or companies a beneficial owner is every person who holds more than 25% of the voting rights, more than 25% of the capital share or more than 25% of the assets. Violations against the GwG can be fined up to 100,000 Euro per violation.

There is also a wrong statement here. Incorrect information about a beneficial owner can be severely punished, depending on the circumstances. In our example, the beneficial owner is now the German managing director / majority shareholder and no longer Swiss, as can be seen here.

Assets and Liabilities

The balance sheet shown by the credit bureau shows typical characteristics of a small company: The balance sheet items fluctuate greatly in their amount, since even absolutely small amounts lead to relatively large changes.

Debt Ratio

Find above a comparison of the company based on the industry code (primary) with other companies from the same industry. The analysis of the credit reporting agency has been based on the industry code 70 – Activities of head offices; management consultancy activities. The Debt Ratio measures the ratio between debts and equity of a company. Here, too, the strong fluctuations typical of small companies can be seen, which cannot be compared with those of large companies.

Cash Ratio

The Cash Ratio shows the ratio between liquid assets and short-term debts. The consulting company only delivered the legally required minimum balance sheet to the German Federal Gazette. This does not require a breakdown of the current assets. The liquid assets can therefore not be determined from the publicly available data.These items are accordingly noted in the credit report with dashes. Depending on the situation, it may be advisable to voluntarily break down these items in the annual financial statements submitted to the German Federal Gazette.


The revenues indicate the value of goods and services a company sold within it’s ordinary business activity during a trading period. An income statement does not necessarily have to be submitted to the Federal Gazette if certain threshold values for company size are not exceeded. Accordingly, only dashes are used here instead of concrete numbers. Small corporations are those that do not exceed at least two of the three following criteria (1) 6,000,000 € balance sheet total; (2) 12,000,000 € in sales in the twelve months prior to the closing date; (3) an annual average of fifty employees. Micro corporations are small corporations that do not exceed at least two of the three following criteria: (1) 350,000 € balance sheet total; (2) 700,000 € in sales in the twelve months prior to the reporting date; (3) an annual average of ten employees. The disclosure requirements are graded accordingly.

Net Profit Ratio

Net Profit Ratio measures the ratio between operational result and revenue. So it indicates how much the company actually earned with its achieved revenues. For the same reasons of the limited disclosure, the information on the net profit ratio is also not meaningful.In the present example, the credit reporting agency has not made any estimate of these values.

We would be happy to deal with your credit report. After we look into your case, you’ll soon be reading our comment here. Please contact us:

Get in to find out!

Subscribe to get access

Get your case discussed on rating.repair when you subscribe today.

In summary, there is a need for rating repair here. Errors on the credit report can lower the credit score. Unfortunately, the same is true for correct information. If facts are rather unfavorable that could be published voluntarily in the Federal Gazette or to the credit bureau, this can lead to a worse Credit Index, Risk Score and International Score and an estimate of a higher Probability of Default.

For certain businesses and industries the required check according to the Anti-Money-Laundering law (Geldwäschegesetz – GwG) could not be assisted by the data provided in the credit report. The reported trade partner is not the beneficial owner, since partners had changed.

Rating German Care Industry

Read, Reports

In Germany, very tenth inhabitant will be at least 80 years old in 2060. The German care industry will soon face a very high investment requirement. By 2060, more than 5,800 additional full-time nursing home places might be needed each year.

The 65-year-olds and older people are steadily increasing. Immigration and a rising birth rate can not prevent the aging of society. In 2060, just under 23.6 million people will be over 65 years old. This represents an increase of 32 percent compared to 2018.

According to nursing statistics, in 2017, 92.5 percent of full-time care-dependent people in care were aged 65 and over, making them the main demand group. The demand for full-time care of 65-year-olds and older people amounted to 4.27 percent in Germany, reaching a new record high.

In a conservative approach, which requires constant proportions of the outpatient and inpatient sector and a constant nursing rate, in the year 2060 around 1 million people in need of care would need a full-time home. This represents an increase of more than 33 percent compared to 2017. With an average size of 80 places per home, around 74 fully residential nursing homes would have to be built annually by 2060. From 2011 to 2017, the nursing rate has increased. If this trend continues, by 2060 there would even be a significantly higher demand for full-time care places.

This does not take account of any federal building regulations, which can once again create an immense additional need for new construction, since, for example, legally required single occupancy rates cause a loss of care places. In addition, due to ramshackle building structures, the increasing demands and the elimination of multiple expiring grandfathering additional buildings are required.