Singapore: Singapore beverages and property group Fraser & Neave (F&N), brewer of Tiger beer, is in talks to enter the Indian real estate sector, a company official told Reuters on Wednesday.
F&N, which already owns a brewery in India through its Asia Pacific Breweries unit, said it was focusing on residential and serviced apartments in Indian cities such as Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai, but had yet to conclude a transaction.
“We are currently discussing potential opportunities with various parties and hopefully we can close our first deal in due course,” company spokesman Hui Choon Kit told Reuters.
He declined to be more specific about the potential partners or the size of the investment. Under Indian foreign direct investment rules, the minimum equity for foreign investors in real estate joint ventures is $5 million (Rs21.5 crore).
He said that due to continuing growth in the Indian economy, “demand for quality housing, offices and hospitality will continue to outstrip supply”.
F&N’s property unit develops shopping centres, residential homes and serviced apartments in Singapore and has residential projects in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, China and Thailand.
In the financial year to 30 September 2006, the property unit contributed earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of S$350 million ($231 million), or nearly 60% of total EBIT.
At a results presentation in November, the company said its property business was shifting its presence in China into second-tier and possibly third-tier cities, given that competition in the main cities was getting keener.
Besides India, the firm is also exploring opportunities for its property business in Vietnam and Russia, F&N said in November.
F&N jointly owns Tiger beer maker Asia Pacific Breweries with Dutch brewer Heineken.
Last year Asia Pacific Breweries bought a 76% stake for $18 million in India’s Aurangabad Breweries, which has a presence in India’s Maharashtra and Goa states.