Blackstone arm Nexus Malls eyes acquisitions to double footprint in a year

Blackstone subsidiary Nexus Malls is looking to double its footprint from current nine malls across five million sq ft in a year. Typically, Blackstone buys out an existing mall and hands it over to its subsidiary Nexus Malls. 

Dwelling on the company's future plans, Jayen Naik, senior vice president-operations & projects at Nexus Malls said the company is exploring acquisition opportunities across the country. 

"Our strategy is not to spend time developing greenfield mall properties. Rather, our core competencies lie in acquiring existing properties and then managing and improving them. Blackstone currently owns nine malls across five million sq ft. We are now looking at buying more properties across India and aim to double (the number of malls) in next one year," said Naik.

As part of its expansion plan, the company is also in talks with existing properties in Vadodara and Surat, deals for which may be finalised in next 3-6 months. "We are looking at malls run by sole owners and not in partnerships. We usually look for mall properties of minimum 500,000 sq ft," Naik added.

The company forayed into Gujarat when Blackstone acquired a 720,000 sq ft mall in Ahmedabad from Alpha G: Corp and handed it over to Nexus Malls a few years ago. The company now plans to expand the said mall, Ahmedabad One, by another 150,000-200,000 sq ft in a year, said Naik. The project cost for the expansion is estimated to be in the range of Rs 75 crore to Rs 100 crore.

In FY19, Nexus Malls' sales grew 40 per cent to clock a turnover of nearly Rs 5,000 crore. Of this, the Ahmedabad One mall posted the highest growth of 14 per cent among matured properties for Nexus, with a turnover of Rs 756 crore. 

Naik attributed the growth to its rental-cum-revenue sharing model with brands and retailers, under which it partners with the latter for sales and marketing and to ensure higher footfalls. Last year, Nexus Malls had a total footfall of 65 million across all nine portfolios. 

"Unlike other malls, we partner with each brand or retailer. We also try our best to bring in the best of the brands, apart from providing exceptional services, parking spaces and a combination of recreational, entertainment and food services," said Naik. 

For instance, at Ahmedabad One mall, the company is in talks with the likes of Starbucks and Taco Bell, among other premium brands, to usher in their first stores in Gujarat at its property in Ahmedabad.

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