Indian realtors are eyeing foreign soil for expansion.

Indian real estate developers are trying to find a foothold on foreign soil. In a notice to the stock exchanges a few days ago, DLF declared that it was going to consider international acquisitions and investments in development projects abroad. However, company spokesmen declined to give out details.

Recently, Ansals API tied up with Malaysia’s UEM Group to form a 60:40 joint venture company, Ansal Api-UEM Contracts Pvt Ltd, which could bid for government projects in Malaysia, as also projects worldwide.

“This is the company’s second foreign tie-up in recent times. The first one, which was with Dubai’s Deyaar around three months ago, will work on integrated townships in India. It will focus on the western and southern parts of the country where Ansals API does not have much of a presence, and also concentrate on Dubai,” says Kunal Banerjee, vice-president (marketing), Ansals API.

There are others too. Parsvnath Developers’ Chairman Pradeep Jain is looking at greenfield projects in the retail and hospitality sectors in Dubai, Mauritius, Singapore and a few other locations.

He will tie up with local developers to share the risks for these projects. The company is already in one such deal with the Al-Hasan Group in Oman.

South-based Puravankara Group is doing a project in Sri Lanka — a high-end residential complex, comprising 100 villas, on the road from the airport to Colombo.

To be launched in the next two months, it will see an investment of Rs 250 crore. There’s another project too, a commercial office-cum-retail project involving the Sri Lankan government, but that’s yet to firm up.

In Dubai, the Hiranandanis are coming up with their showpiece 23 Marina project through a joint venture, Hircon International (forged in 2005), with Dubai-based ETA-Star Property. The construction of this 90-storey high-end residential project, which will cost $250 million, will finish in 2009.

However, 90 per cent of the apartments, in the price range of $462,900-$23,14,501, have already been sold, and there has also been a 50 per cent escalation in the price.

“The company is now looking at two other projects in the Dubai Lagoons and Business Bay areas,” says Darshan Hiranandani, director, Hircon.

The Hiranandanis are also entering into the hospitality sector with 5,000 5-star hotel rooms, which will come up between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

“We will implement this project, which will cost $500-600 million, ourselves, and not through the joint venture,” says Hiranandani.

Kolkata’s South City Projects, a consortium of some of the city’s largest realtors, is also working on two projects in Dubai — one, a 150,000 sq ft office building inside the Dubai Investment Park, and the other, a residential project of around 150-200 studio apartments.

The total investment for the two projects is around Rs 100 crore. Then there is Dheeraj East Coast LLC, involving Mumbai developer, Dheeraj Group, which is developing a number of office complexes and residences all over the place.

And, of course, there is L&T which is constructing luxury residences, villas, condominiums for premier realtors like Nakheel and Trident International Holdings.

So what is it that’s making Indian realtors look overseas? According to Parsvnath’s Jain, “The margins in the offshore market are better than what they used to be. Compliance levels are very transparent and financial leverage is easily available. Besides, there is exposure to the latest technology and the benefits for the top-line and bottomline.”

Asish Puravankara agrees: “When it comes to our business model, we are very opportunistic, whether it is in India or abroad. It is not just by chance, or because it is nearest to south India, that we are in Sri Lanka. For one, there was a lack of quality developments and two, land was very cheap. There is demand from Sri Lankan expats for luxury apartments and they are willing to invest in their homeland. Besides, the government offers a number of sops on import of material. There is also an office of the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka in Bangalore, which makes things ever more easy.”

Clearly, Indian realtors are making a name for themselves in the international market.

Source: Business Standard
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