Godrej family hires top law firms to untangle land holdings worth Rs 20k-cr

(Left to right) Adi Godrej, chairman, Godrej group, and Nadir Godrej, chairman, Godrej Agrovet, are seeking to resolve differences with cousin Jamshyd Godrej, who controls the unlisted Godrej & Boyce
The Godrej family, one of the biggest land owners in Mumbai, has appointed advisors and top law firms to untangle its land holdings. The 1,000-acre land bank at Vikhroli, which can be developed, is worth Rs 20,000 crore at the prevailing rate of Rs 20 crore per acre in the area, according to real estate experts.

While Godrej & Boyce chairman Jamshyd Godrej has hired veteran investment banker Nimesh Kampani of JM Financial and lawyer Zia Mody of AZB Partners to help in the re-organisation of the land holdings, cousins Adi (chairman, Godrej group) and Nadir (chairman, Godrej Agrovet) have hired banker Uday Kotak and Cyril Shroff of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, said a source close to the development.

The Godrej group owns 3,400 acres in Vikhroli, a northeastern suburb of Mumbai. Of this, about 1,000 acres can be developed. Another 1,750 acres has mangroves and will not be developed because of environment concerns, Adi Godrej had promised in 2011. Another 300 acres of land has been encroached upon.

The land parcel can be developed into real estate worth up to Rs 100,000 crore — taking into account the per square feet price in Godrej’s Vikhroli complex.

Godrej family members did not respond to queries. Spokespersons of Kotak Mahindra Bank and JM Financial also did not respond, while law firms Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and AZB Partners declined to comment.

The group companies from both sides also have minority stakes in each other and have representations on each other’s boards.

The Godrej group was set up by Ardeshir Godrej in 1897 who started his journey by selling locks along with his brother Pirojsha. While Ardeshir Godrej had no children, Pirojsha’s sons Burjor, Sohrab, and Naval managed the group.

The group is now run by Burjor’s sons Adi, and Nadir, and Naval’s son, Jamshyd. 

The next generation of the family has also joined the group across various companies. The land parcel was acquired by the Godrej family in early 1940s from the Bombay High Court receiver. It was originally given by the East India Company to a Parsi merchant, Framjee Banaji, in 1830s and came up for sale in 1941-42.
'Landlord' of Mumbai
  • Godrej family started acquiring land in Vikhroli in early 1940s; currently owns about 3,400 acres in the Mumbai suburb 
  • Large parts of it are covered by mangroves; total developable land is only 1,000 acres, estimated at Rs 20,000 crore 
  • In 2011, Godrej Properties entered into an agreement with Godrej & Boyce to develop land 
  • Godrej Properties has launched a 35-acre mixed-use project, The Trees, at Vikhroli