IN his own words, Andrew Catsoulis describes his business as one that "doesn't cure cancer" or have an answer on how to find a solution to world peace.
As managing director of National Storage REIT (ASX: NSR), Andrew Catsoulis is pragmatic about what he does and underneath his "it's just storage, pure and simple" demeanour is a story about the evolution of a business from very humble beginnings to one with $1 billion in assets.
The Brisbane-based company, which is one of the largest self-storage providers in Australia and New Zealand, now has 113 centres and 35,000 residential and commercial customers.
In 1985, Catsoulis returned from Japan where he'd been working as a lawyer and he began working with the family business. His father, who he describes as a "bushie-turned-developer", had bought one of Brisbane's roughest pubs, the Oxley Hotel, and polished it into a successful business.
With the Oxley came a vacant piece of land wedged between the pub and the motorway.
It couldn't be used for residential development as it was too close to the motorway. It couldn't be used for industrial because it was too close to other houses.
So, what to do?
His wife Karen suggested storage was the answer, but Andrew Catsoulis wasn't so sure.
But they went ahead and from that first project they began building National Storage which was floated for $280 million in 2013 and now has a market capitalisation of more than $725 million.
Catsoulis' targeted and aggressive acquisition strategy underpins the impressive growth of National Storage which recorded a rise in total revenue by 46 per cent in the first half of the 2017 financial year.
Business News Australia sat down with Andrew Catsoulis when he was guest speaker at our special breakfast at Customs House in Brisbane in April, and as part of our special video series, we asked him about the challenges of evolving from a family business into a listed company and how to maintain momentum when your strategy requires ongoing expansion.
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