IFM Investments Limited (Century 21 China Real Estate) (CTC)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

November 17, 2011, 8:00 a.m. ET


Donald Zhang - Co-founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Harry Lu - Co-founder, Vice Chairman and President

Kevin Wei - Chief Financial Officer

Josh Gartner – IR


Liping Cai – William Blair

Ella Ji – Oppenheimer



Good evening and thank you for standing by for Century 21 China Real Estate's third quarter 2011 earnings conference call. At this time all participants are in listen-only mode. After Management's prepared remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session. Today's conference call is being recorded. I will now turn the call over to your host for today, Josh Gartner.

Josh Gartner

Thank you, everyone for joining us for Century 21 China Real Estate's third quarter 2011 earnings call.

With us today are Donald Zhang, co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer, Harry Lu, co-founder, vice chairman and president, and Kevin Wei, the company’s chief financial officer.

Before we continue please allow me to read you IFM Investments' Safe Harbor statement. Some of the statements during this conference call are forward-looking statements made under the Safe Harbor provisions of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.

Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from our current expectations. Potential risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those outlined in our public filings with the SEC. IFM Investments Limited does not undertake any obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law.

For those of you unable to listen to the entire call at this time, a recording will be available via webcast until November 24 on our corporate website at At this point, I would like to turn the call over to Mr. Donald Zhang.

Donald Zhang

Thank you, Josh. Good day to everyone and thank you for joining us on this call.

China’s real estate market in the third quarter continued to be strongly affected by the stringent regulatory environment, and secondary market sales remained at depressed levels.

That said – we are beginning to see prices decline in some areas, a positive sign that the regulations are achieving their intended effect. This has been stronger in suburban areas, although we are also seeing limited price drops in city centers. Also, in some markets there have been changes in the loan approval process, which has resulted in first time homebuyers being able to secure loans somewhat more quickly.

As downward price pressure continues, many potential buyers appear to be waiting for prices to fall further. That said, we are hopeful that we have reached the bottom of the market in terms of secondary transaction volumes.

As you know, our strategy has been to diversify our revenue base in real estate services. And we’re making encouraging progress here. In particular, our primary business line, as well as primary sales through our retail store network saw strong growth in the third quarter.

We believe that primary sector sales [via exclusive contracts] are going to be a key growth area for Century 21 China. First – developers still have a lot of room to reduce prices, which we think will translate into higher primary volumes in the quarters ahead. Second – real estate developers are increasingly realizing the benefits of leveraging Century 21 China’s network of retail locations and established client base. This has been the case in the more sophisticated Shenzhen and Shanghai markets, and we’re just beginning to see traction in the Beijing market.

Let me now turn the call over to Harry, who will provide you with a further update on our business for the last quarter. Thank you.

Harry Lu

Thank you, Donald.

During the third quarter, we made clear progress in our strategy to reduce the impact of regulatory pressure in the secondary market on our overall business. In addition to diversifying our revenue base through the development of our primary and commercial business services that Donald mentioned, we have also taken significant steps to reduce our overall costs going forward.

I would like to update you on the progress that we have made in these two areas.

First, as Donald discussed earlier, our primary and commercial business service segment grew well in the third quarter, recording overall GFA of primary unit sales of approximately 95,000 square meters, up from approximately 37,000 in the previous quarter.

Our primary sales were particularly strong in Shanghai and Shenzhen, where developers have been more willing to reduce prices and to work with agencies like Century 21.

Notably – in Q3, our company owned brokerage units in Shanghai and Shenzhen contributed about 22% of overall company revenue through new home sales. This was up from 7.1% in Q2 2011. While our ability to sell primary units through our retail store network in Beijing has lagged behind Shanghai and Shenzhen, we have a strong pipeline and expect to see progress there as well.

This is a clear validation of our diversification strategy and demonstrates how our strong brand and established network enable us to adapt our business to market conditions.

Looking ahead, our primary and commercial business service pipeline remains strong, with a total GFA of 2.3 million square meters from 18 projects. We expect these to contribute significantly to revenue when they come online from the fourth quarter of 2011 through 2012.

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