New Delhi: Looking to diversify beyond its core real estate business, Ansal Properties and Infrastructure Ltd, is looking at developing ports in India in partnership with UEM Builders, part of Malaysia’s largest conglomerate UEM Group Berhad. The two companies already have an existing joint venture, UEM Builders-Ansal API Contracts Pvt. Ltd to execute construction and engineering projects.

“UEM Group has expertise in building ports," said Pranav Ansal, vice-chairman of Ansal API. “We might look at partnering with UEM to develop ports in India."

Ansal API is initially looking at developing mid-sized ports in North India. The company is looking at other infrastructure projects, including airport development projects, and is in talks with international airport operators to form a partnership to bid for such projects.

Diversifying core: Pranav Ansal, vice-chairman, Ansal API.

DLF Ltd, Unitech Ltd and Parsvnath Developers Ltd are also diversifying into infrastructure projects, such as airport development and road development. Real estate companies are diversifying into the infrastructure sector after the yearly doubling of prices of the last three years is starting to slow down. Some have also been driven by efforts to offer better connectivity to their large stand-alone townships, which are often not supported by adequate infrastructure.

Ansal, for instance, has already invested in wind farms to generate power for some of its projects in a country where power outages, nationwide, and low wattage connectivity, in remote areas, is common.

Strong economic activity, along with a push for better infrastructure projects, has led to an urban renewal plan in India, that includes upgrading existing airports and building new ones, along with more expressways, national highways and new ports.

Ansal API, through its joint venture with UEM Builders, will carry out construction and engineering work in India. UEM Builders undertakes engineering and construction projects and also operates quarries. The firm has been present in India since the early 1990s through its subsidiary, UE Development India Pvt. Ltd.

The UEM Group Berhad is listed on the Malaysian Stock Exchange and has annual sales of at least $2 billion. The Group is a diversified conglomerate in Malaysia, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional Berhad, an investment arm of the Malaysian Government.