Interview with Søren Stensdal, CEO, Stensdal

Interview with Søren Stensdal, CEO, Stensdal


Business Focus: Stensdal Group, with a robust 35-year legacy, is a formidable force in Denmark’s real estate sector. The group’s unwavering commitment to innovation and sustainability, embodied in the distinctive Stensdal style, has significantly shaped the Danish real estate landscape. As CEO, can you give an overview of your strategic vision, goals for the company’s trajectory moving forward, and Stensdal Group’s performance highlights and key milestones over the past two years?

Søren Stensdal: Certainly. Our focus is on further expanding both our commercial and residential portfolios. Historically, we have emphasized developing the commercial side to achieve critical mass in that segment. However, in the past few years, our strategy has shifted to growing our residential portfolio. The plan is for its value to match the commercial portfolio within a relatively short period—likely 3 to 4 years in total. We’re already two years into this journey, so we anticipate achieving this equilibrium in not more than two years from now. Simultaneously, we remain committed to continually augmenting our commercial portfolio.


BF: How does the unique Stensdal and set of values shape the group’s approach to property development and investment, distinguishing it from other players in the industry?

Søren Stensdal: As a family-owned business, our core values center around durability and the longevity of our developments, emphasizing sustainability. In our commercial endeavors, we primarily acquire and renovate older properties, preserving their main structures. This aligns with our values and contributes to saving concrete and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Economically, we have a strong focus on energy savings in buildings.


BF: In light of recent fluctuations in the Danish housing market, including a record number of transactions in 2021, followed by a decline in market activity in 2022, Stensdal Group’s role and innovative approaches come into focus.As a key player in the Danish real estate landscape, how do you assess the current trends and challenges within the Danish real estate sector, and what key factors do you believe will shape the sector’s future?

Søren Stensdal: Given the current global situation, rising interest rates worldwide have impacted the Danish market. Fortunately, our robust mortgage system has provided some protection to Danish investments, distinguishing us from markets like Sweden. The challenge arises from the pressure on the value of various properties due to these rising interest rates. In our relatively smaller market, limited transactions and the presence of robust players create a significant gap between sellers’ expectations and buyers’ willingness to pay, hindering many transactions from taking place.


BF: With a diverse portfolio exceeding 140,000 square meters in Greater Copenhagen and Zealand, Stensdal Group takes a multifaceted approach to development, engaging in projects ranging from individual properties and businesses to creating entirely new districts. Could you shed light on the group’s strategic plans for portfolio expansion, including the specific sectors, regions, or new markets the group is actively considering or targeting for future investments?

Søren Stensdal: Certainly. As mentioned earlier, we are diversifying into residential provinces. The overarching aim for everything we do, including the commercial aspect, is to cover as much of the value chain as possible. In residential properties, our involvement spans from farmland to finished buildings, and we also manage these properties. We are actively exploring and working on various development opportunities within this comprehensive value chain.


BF: 400 American companies are operating in Denmark, and there’s a growing fusion between America and Denmark, which is the focus of our report. Do you see any collaboration opportunities for American readers in renting your properties or at an investment level?

Søren Stensdal: While we handle most aspects internally without external investors, we would certainly welcome collaboration with US companies looking to establish or expand in the Greater Copenhagen region. It would make perfect sense for such partnerships.


BF: Over the past three decades, the group has evolved to encompass property investment and project development within housing construction and private equity investments in companies beyond the property industry. How does the group approach investments beyond its current local scope, and what factors influence decisions to invest in projects outside the property sector, both domestically and internationally?

Søren Stensdal: As part of our strategy, we have significantly diversified our investments, particularly in technology and sales companies. However, we’ve realized the importance of aligning these investments with a strategic focus on the property sector. For instance, we have a parking company, the third-largest in Denmark, which strategically complements our overall goals. We’ve moved away from ventures outside the property sector that lack strategic alignment.


BF: Real estate is a dynamic and ever-evolving industry, and recent years have seen several significant trends emerge. We see a growing emphasis on global trends like sustainability, digitalization, e-commerce, and green housing in the post-pandemic landscape. Amid these challenges and opportunities, how does Stensdal Group plan to stay at the forefront of innovation in the Danish real estate sector, and what strategies does the company have to contribute to the broader advancements and resilience of the Danish real estate market?

Søren Stensdal: Denmark has led green energy, particularly wind energy. We aim to maintain our position at the forefront of innovation in creating energy-efficient houses for residential and commercial purposes. Through innovation and new building techniques, we prioritize green practices. We also focus on recycling materials extracted from buildings, repurposing them in our new constructions or preserving them for future use. Our commitment to sustainability aligns with Denmark’s tradition of pioneering green initiatives.


BF: Do you have a final message to the readers of USA Today about choosing Denmark as their next business and investment destination?

Søren Stensdal: Real estate is inherently a local business, requiring a strong local presence. If any American companies or institutions are interested in collaborating with us in Denmark, we welcome the opportunity.



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