CB Richard Ellis, a leading real-estate services company, expects its global annual revenue to soar about 30 per cent to US$1.8 billion following its recent acquisition of Insignia Financial Group for US$415 million. The takeover would enable CB Richard Ellis to enlarge its client base and dominate the capital markets in New York and London, said Rob Blain, chairman and chief executive of CB Richard Ellis in the Asia-Pacific region. Insignia is an international real-estate services and investment-banking firm with leadership positions in the commercial and residential sectors in New York and London. Mr Blain said the global revenue of CB Richard Ellis could reach US$1.7 billion to US$1.8 billion after the acquisition, up from US$1.3 billion to US$1.4 billion before. That would be more than two times the global revenue of rival Jones Lang LaSalle, at about US$890 million, and was the highest in the industry, he said. 'The combination enhances the number one services in New York and London. We recognised Insignia had a strong base in New York and London with primary clients in banking institutions, services institutions, finance companies and life companies. All of them who wish to come or do something in Asia will be linked to our corporate services,' Mr Blain said. 'A short-term benefit is that we get a closer relationship with particular multinational companies or investment groups. Insignia may have a better quality of client in New York and London.' Mr Blain said CB Richard Ellis was keen to develop its referral business, helping multinationals or manufacturers establish operations overseas. He said the referral business could be expanded in the next few years to account for up to 20 per cent to 30 per cent of its business portfolio. This compared with the existing contribution of about 5 per cent. Apart from New York and London, China would be the largest potential market in Asia for expansion, he said. CB Richard Ellis would be eager to enhance its presence in Asia after strengthening its business in New York, London and Tokyo. It was looking for an opportunity to set up branches in Nanjing, Dalian and Chengdu when market sentiment improved, he said. The company already has offices in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing, Hong Kong and China contributed about 7 per cent of its global revenue. China had a mature investment market and some offshore funds were interested in pursuing selective investment opportunities, he said. For example, JP Morgan had recently secured an opportunity to invest US$90 million in Shanghai. More institutional investment deals were expected soon. Mr Blain said the acquisition would have a positive effect on business in Hong Kong. Multinationals would be more eager to set up offices in Hong Kong as property values had fallen to their lowest in a decade. The extended client base of CB Richard Ellis after the acquisition could better facilitate office leasing, he said. He expected that Real Estate Investment Trusts, to be established in Hong Kong, could improve the advisory and valuation business in the city. CB Richard Ellis has a workforce of more than 14,000 in 250 offices in 48 countries following its acquisition of Insignia, which had more than 5,000 employees worldwide. The two companies brokered more than US$80 billion in sales and lease transactions last year.