Mistry to launch real estate fund in Singapore

To unlock Tata Realty investment in IT parks and road projects
The $100 billion Tata group, now headed by real estate and construction baron Cyrus Mistry, plans to float a real estate investment trust or a business trust in Singapore.

The idea is to unlock a closely held subsidiary’s investment in projects such as IT parks, malls and roads already built or under construction assets such as IT parks, malls and road projects.

The subsidiary, Tata Realty & Infrastructure (TRIL), also intends to buy some smaller IT parks in India.

“We plan to float a real estate investment trust (REIT) in Singapore which will pool our completed IT parks… The REIT will helps us unlock capital from built and leased out assets and re-deploy it for infrastructure projects such as the Mumbai trans-harbour link which we have bid for,” a top official of the subsidiary told Financial Chronicle.

For the Mumbai harbour link, TRIL has formed an equal partnership with the Italy-headquartered, ¤8 billion Atlantia, one of the world’s largest operators of motorway infrastructure, and the ¤36.95 billion Vinci of France, a big construction company.

If the consortium manages to win the Mumbai bid, the planned REIT will help fund the equity contribution required for the project without a big cash infusion from Tata Sons, the parent firm.

The IT parks include Chennai’s Ramanujam IT special economic zone (SEZ) which plans a processing zone of 3.5 million sq ft of built-up area and a non-processing zone consisting of Cambridge Green a high-end residential enclave, a retail mall, service apartments and an international convention centre.

In March 2011, the company purchased a 700,000 sq ft greenfield IT park from Kotak India Real Estate Fund I for Rs 525 crore. It also plans to build a 600,000 sq ft IT park in Bangalore.

At the Ramanujam IT city 1.2 million sq ft of space has already been leased out to firms including HCL, Cognizant and TCS. In all 2.8 million sq ft will be ready for occupation by March.

Besides, the company plans to build mixed-use 1.3 million sq ft of space for retail and residential use, the Tata Centre in Bangalore, and is in the process of acquiring three toll road projects at a cost of Rs 600 crore.

“We are evaluating whether to float an REIT or a business trust in Singapore. A business trust will allow us to have a mix of both completed and leased assets as well as under development assets. An REIT can only be for completed assets such as toll roads and leased office space,” said the TRIL official.

If the company goes in for a business trust it could potentially fold in its 700,000 sq ft Trilium mall in Amritsar; the under construction Tritvam residential complex in Kochi and Capital Height, its 10 acre integrated residential and retail complex.

It also plans to pool in its subsidiary TRIL Roads that has been awarded the Rs 1,371 crore project of four-laning a 110 km stretch of the Pune-Solapur highway.

“We will take a call on which of the two routes to adopt depending on the valuation and advice from merchant bankers,” said the TRIL official. The business trust will target investors who are keen to have a rental base and a development play that generates capital appreciation albeit at a slightly higher risk of project execution.

The REIT, on the other hand, will target investors such as sovereign wealth funds and pension funds interested in a steady rental income.

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India realty sector to get $4-5 b investments

India’s realty sector is set for inflows of $ 4 to 5 billion from global investors in the next couple of years, with Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai emerging as favourites, according to the  Asia Pacific CEO of global real estate consultancy firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).

“The early foreign investors in India, who came in around 2006-07, did not have very good experience, partly because of their inexperience in doing business in India and partly because of global financial crisis,” Alastair Hughes said at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting.

They don’t seem to be perturbed by it as India’s growth rate is still an attraction, according to him. “Foreign investors are now looking with a renewed interest at India, given its still robust economic growth rate as that bodes well for good returns to their investments,” Hughes said.

He  added that there is more international money today waiting to be invested in India than any of the last five years. Overseas investors have invested $ 14 billion into the Indian real estate sector over the period from 2006 to 2012.

In the last two years, foreign investment into Indian real estate has been around $ 1.2 billion per annum.

Around half of all transactions were invested in residential property, a quarter in the offices sector and the remaining quarter was split among other sectors.

According to him,  2013 and 2014 look more promising from an investment standpoint and the realty sector would get about $ $ 4-5 billion, mainly to buy income yielding SEZ assets at a capitalisation rate of 10.75 per cent.  Globally, Hughes said, there was a boom in 2007, followed by a bust in 2008, in the realty sector, while there has been a gradual recovery since the end of 2009.

Investments into Asia Pacific commercial real estate market fell around 10 per cent in 2012, from $ 98 billion to about $ 92 billion. “It was because of a sense of caution prevailing in different countries. But now we are seeing a change in the sentiments,” he said.

“One of the reasons for that is people looking to divert their investments from bonds to equities and other asset classes and that include real estate. Therefore more money is coming to real estate and a bigger proportion of that we see coming to Asia Pacific,” he added.

He said that in the retail sector, a very high growth is expected with the (likely) entry of foreign retailers.

Besides, manufacturing and industrial sector would also benefit a lot as retailers would need to set up logistics facilities. The residential space is also set for growth, he added.

Realty to be our largest business in 10 years: Godrej Group

Godrej Group, a major player in consumer durables and fast moving consumer goods sector, is investing heavily in the property sector and expects that realty would be the biggest contributor to the company’s business 10 years ahead.

Talking to reporters here, the $3.2 billion Godrej Group’s chairman Adi Godrej said the company had increased its focus on the real estate business in the past few years.

“In the next 10 years, I expect real estate will be the single largest contributor to our business,” Godrej said at a media briefing on the sidelines of the Partnership Summit here.

Godrej Group’s real estate unit Godrej Properties is currently developing several residential and commercial projects in different parts of the country including Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and the National Capital Region.

Godrej said he was expecting good growth in India’s real estate business in the coming years.

“Real estate is the single largest industry in India. There is no player who dominates the business,” Godrej said.

There are seven major companies under Godrej Group with interests in the sectors like FMCG, industrial engineering, appliances, furniture, security and real estate.