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LONDON-NAI Global CEO Jeffrey Finn calls the firm “a rising star” in Europe, and now Erinaceous Group plc has joined the international real estate network’s universe as its United Kingdom representative. Part of a UK-based conglomerate also prevalent in insurance and other businesses, the Erinaceous Group’s CRE arm has become a major force this decade, and is poised for additional growth, according to Finn. NAI’s network now encompasses more than 350 offices in 45 countries.

The designation comes after last year’s sale of NAI’s previous affiliate and an in-depth search to find a replacement. “We are delighted with the result,” Finn tells GlobeSt.com. “This is an ideal fit for us.” NAI was enticed by the broad nature of Erinaceous’ capabilities and the firm’s geographic reach, says Finn.

Founded just eight years ago, Erinaceous has 50 UK offices and 5,000 staffers offering expertise in everything from asset management and development to leasing, property management and investment sales. The latter arena, says Finn, was “a particular strength” of Erinaceous piquing his organization’s interest, with NAI seeking to increase its production in that field. About 25% of NAI Global’s 2006 revenues of $40 billion was generated from investment sales, Finn estimates, and Erinaceous principal Stuart Hicks says his company is eager to expand that line as well.

According to Hicks, managing director for the Professional Services Group, just about everything in NAI’s UK platform fits with his firm’s outlook as well, including a desire to be an industry leader. “We have a very clear and determined intention to break into the top five firms in the UK,” says Hicks, the same ranking NAI hopes to achieve in the major world markets it operates. As it was, he tells GlobeSt.com, the recent ascension to the eighth spot in a UK survey was “a great surprise” to the industry, especially given the presence of several stalwarts in business for more than a century.

The “synergies” with NAI include the ability for Erinaceous to introduce its clients to the massive worldwide network and vice versa. Erinaceous has been increasing its international activity of late, and has ventures underway in regions as diverse as Bucharest and India, but Hicks concurs that the union with NAI Global exponentially broadens his firm’s reach. “I can’t overemphasize enough how excited we are by this [designation] and how much we feel this is going to benefit us going forward,” he says. “It is a major milestone for us in our development.”

While neither could provide exact figures, Finn says he believes Erinaceous will deliver the highest number of brokerage professionals of any network office. There are 274 people in the Professional Services Group focused on the transactional field, says Hicks, whose company is among the more full-service operations to be found in the industry. Erinaceous not only provides third party consulting and services, it also has in-house architectural and development expertise. The firm is handling a Bucharest shopping center under construction, for example, and another division even acquired an airport around which it will develop distribution and logistics space. “It’s a brand new mindset,” Hicks says of the Erinaceous model, one that generated more than $275 million in revenues last year.

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