Shapoorji in talks with investors to raise $250 mn for housing platform

Shapoorji Pallonji Group is in talks with investors to raise $250 million (Rs 17.5 billion) for its second affordable housing platform, say sources.

The investors in question include, they add, the International Financial Corporation (IFC), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Britain-based private equity fund Actis. IFC and ADB were two of three outside partners in the first such platform, too; the third was Standard Chartered, whose realty portfolio in Asia has since been bought by Actis.

The second platform, like the first one, is apparently aiming to develop about 16 million sq ft of affordable housing projects. The first one was in 2015, to develop 20,000 affordable housing units in this country. The amount put in was $200 million (Rs 14 billion at the current rate). Standard Chartered, IFC and ADB put in 70 per cent and the remaining 30 per cent came from Shapoorji.

When asked, Venkatesh Gopalakrishnan, chief executive officer at Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate, declined to comment on fund raising plans. Actis, ADB and IFC would not reply to the e-mail sent on the topic.

Shapoorji has launched housing projects at Virar near Mumbai, Howrah near Kolkata and Hinjewadi, a Pune suburb, till date. And, sold about 1,000 units. Gopalakrishnan said the company was looking at launching a project in Gurugram (Gurgaon) in October and later one each at Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai. They have bought land in Hyderabad for Rs 1.5 billion, at Pune for Rs 2 billion and at Chennai for about Rs 1.5 billion. “We are looking at land in Bengaluru and Mumbai,” he added.

Last year, IFC, private sector investment arm of the World Bank, teamed with mortgage lender HDFC to create an $800-million fund dedicated to affordable housing in India. It had also, in the past, backed Aspire Home Finance Corporation, Micro Housing Finance Corporation and Aptus Value Housing Finance India.

Last year, Mahindra Lifespace partnered HDFC Capital Affordable Real Estate Fund-1 to create a Rs 5-billion platform for development of affordable housing projects. Similarly, Bengaluru-based Prestige Estates has partnered HDFC Capital to set up a Rs 25-billion fund to develop affordable and mid-income housing projects.

Given the demand for affordable housing and various government incentives to push such projects, developers are looking keenly at this segment. In the second quarter of 2018, of all housing units launched in the Mumbai metropolitan region, about 46 per cent were of this segment.

About 36 per cent of homes sold in the region during the first quarter were in the Rs 2.5-5 million category; 29 per cent were Rs 5-10 million, shows data collated by Liases Foras, a real estate research entity.

Households with annual income below Rs 1.8 million are eligible for a subsidy of Rs 230,000, paid upfront on a home loan.The central government is also offering developers tax incentives through the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. For affording housing projects, developers get a full tax deduction on profits in the four metro cities -- flats with a carpet area less than 30 sq metres qualify. The limit is 60 sq metres in other cities.
  • In 2015, Shapoorji partnered with IFC, ADB and Actis to set up the first platform
  • StanC, IFC and ADB put in 70:30  came from Shapoorji.
  • Actis has bought over the Asia real estate portfolio of StanC
  • Shapoorji has launched projects in Virar, Howrah in West Bengal and Hinjewadi
  • It is looking to launch projects in Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai later