Nine months have now passed since that first state of alarm decree where we were forced to confine ourselves to our homes and start managing a new way of living and working, which neither our generation nor the previous one had ever faced.
Looking back, we have had to adapt, day by day, to the situations that have arisen and I would be lying if I did not say that it has not been complicated at times. It is also true that it is a privilege and pride to be able to carry out our professional work in a sector such as insurance and in an organisation such as the Mutualidad de la Abogacía, where, with great effort from all of us who are part of it, we have managed to move forward, giving our best, achieving objectives and positioning our organisation even more.
Entering now fully into the real estate aspect, let us remember the situations that we have had to live and that, unfortunately, have not yet finished: multiple negotiations with our tenants that, in some of the occasions and after exhaustive analysis of their situation, have become temporary rent bonuses, early resolutions or even contractual novations, adapting the new rules of the game to the current contracts.
We have also seen some negotiations which, after several attempts at agreement, have ended in lawsuits – fortunately only one and, even so, it ended up being abandoned in order to reach consensus -; executions of guarantees for non-payment of rent – in this case, only on two occasions, after several unsuccessful attempts at agreement -; and finally, bankruptcy proceedings filed by some of our tenants. In spite of all this, it could be said that the impact on the Budget has been minimal thanks to a defensive portfolio and its studied distribution in typologies and tenants, not concentrating in this way, as is usually said, «all the eggs in the same basket».
All of the above, which could respond more to a reactive position with respect to the management of our real estate portfolio, has not omitted the necessary proactive position that every manager should take, even in times like the ones we are living in, where it seems that the most urgent and important thing is to solve the short term problems, understanding that, indeed, it is necessary to do so, but without ceasing to look to the future.
So much so that we have managed to make progress in other aspects such as achieving Breeam certification for our main real estate assets, adapting ourselves to the sustainability standards that the market demands so much and in which the Mutualidad is completely aligned through its Corporate Social Responsibility plan. Furthermore, we have continued with our investment activity, having successfully completed the acquisition of some representative properties that will surely be a refuge value for the present and future, without ceasing to analyse all the opportunities that cover our investment profile.
And after this year that has already ended, what do we expect to happen during the next financial year? Our impression, after much analysis and market study, is that the first quarter and almost certainly the second, will be difficult. Many companies that are holding out thanks to «artificial respirators» are going to give signs of exhaustion. This will unfortunately lead to permanent company closures and redundancies, further aggravating this situation of uncertainty which we are experiencing despite the various economic stimuli announced from Europe.
However, on a positive note, I believe that, in addition to the new companies that are being created and which will be created already adapted to this new reality, if before the summer a significant part of the population has already been able to be vaccinated, we will experience a rebound in our economy and an increase in consumption, and we will be able to see GDP growth again through the much-desired tourism and all the economic activity that it generates around it.
In the meantime, it is in our hands to promote a new generation of health confidence and tranquillity, which will make the streets full of people and joy appear again. We must be positive, endure a few more months and trust that, sooner rather than later, we will see the light again. Who knows if, after all, we will be able to enjoy a Happy Twenties again.