Mumbai: Unlisted property firm Sunil Mantri Realty Ltd plans to raise at least Rs1,000 crore from private equity, or PE, funds this year as it seeks to enter new markets and develop part of its 1,500- acre land bank.
Bucking the trend: Sunil Mantri says his firm, which sold stake to HT Media and BCCL in ’08, will not go in for dilution of holding this time.
In June, the Mumbai-based developer sold 0.65% stake for Rs20 crore to HT Media Ltd in a transaction that valued the company at Rs3,076 crore. In April, Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (BCCL) paid Rs60 crore for an undisclosed stake in the firm.
HT Media, publisher of the Hindustan Times and Mint, competes with BCCL, publisher of The Times of India and The Economic Times.
“This time, we are planning to raise funds strictly at project level and don’t want to go in for dilution of stake or funding at company level,” said Sunil Mantri, founder of the eponymous firm. “We have also been talking to different PE funds and will finalize (a deal) in some time.”
The fund-raising plan comes at a time when most real estate developers are scurrying for finances to finish under-construction projects amid an economic downturn that has dented real estate demand and valuations. Many property firms are being offered a lifeline by PE funds, which see potential profit opportunities in the sector.
Sunil Mantri Realty, an eight-year-old company, has around 10 million sq. ft under construction. Over the years, it has acquired a 1,500-acre land bank spread across the country.
A global downturn in the realty market has delayed by a year the company’s first international venture—to develop, fund and market the MSC Malaysia Cyberport jointly with MSC Cyberport Sdn. Bhd.
“Currently, the master planning and land consolidation process is going on,” said Mantri. Sunil Mantri Realty plans to invest $100 million (Rs514 crore now) in the project in three phases over a period of eight years.
On home ground, however, the company says it is proceeding according to plan.
Three weeks ago, the company bought three sick textile mills from Maharashtra State Textile Corp. Ltd for Rs68 crore. It plans more such acquisitions in the coming months.
The mills, located in Nagpur, Solapur and Kolhapur, will be converted into residential and commercial properties, even as a portion would be retained as a textile unit.
The company has re-entered the Karnataka market in which Sunil’s younger brother, Sushil Mantri, runs his own company, Mantri Developers Pvt. Ltd.
Sunil Mantri now wants to develop projects not only in Bangalore but in other parts of the state such as Belgaum and Hubli where it has already acquired land. After an initial investment of Rs500 crore towards its Karnataka plans, it is planning to use some of the funds it will raise for various projects in the state. A 206-apartment project is coming up on Kanakpura Road in the technology capital, and more projects are under way.
Mantri Developers has nearly 12 million sq. ft under construction in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai, but the elder Mantri is confident there won’t be any overlap of interests.
“There is plenty of business in Bangalore, which is a mature market, and there are business opportunities for all. But the client here is much more choosy than anywhere else, so developers have to cater to that,” said Farook Mahmood, president of the Bangalore Realtors Association and chairman of Silverline Group.
Sushil Mantri said his elder brother had been planning projects for a while now and only when they take shape would he comment on any likely clash of interests.