Home / Companies / People /  Milestone’s Alok Aggarwal to join UCP as chief executive

Bengaluru: Alok Aggarwal is set to join Unitech Corporate Parks Plc (UCP) as chief executive officer (CEO), a little over a year after he was appointed managing partner and CEO at private equity (PE) firm Milestone Capital Advisors Ltd, people familiar with the development said on condition of anonymity.

Bought out in 2014 by Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management Inc. in one of the largest commercial real estate deals in recent years, Unitech Corporate Parks is a large portfolio of office assets, which includes special economic zones (SEZ) and IT parks, parts of which is yet to be developed.

Aggarwal, who will be based out of the national capital region (NCR) and will head a large team of people, will primarily manage UCP’s operational assets and existing tenants, and the remaining construction work.

“He resigned a while back and is serving his notice period in Milestone. He is expected to join sometime in May-June," said one of the people.

Both Milestone and Brookfield declined to comment. Aggarwal also declined comment.

UCP, a London-listed, India-focused real estate investment firm, was acquired by Brookfield for around £205.9 million in which the latter bought out UCP subsidiary Candor Investments’ 60% share in all the six assets, and Unitech’s 40% share in four of them.

Subsequently, Brookfield had acquired the remaining 40% in two more properties.

Among the six UCP assets, some projects were developed by real-estate firm Unitech Ltd, which was a joint venture partner with UCP.

Brookfield’s global construction arm Brookfield Multiplex has taken over the remaining project development now.

Of the six, one is in Kolkata and five are located in the NCR. Out of 11 million sq.ft., construction of nearly 6-7 million sq.ft. has to be undertaken, while the rest is already operational.

“The focus of Brookfield in 2015 and going forward, would be on delivery. Not only developing the projects, but managing the UCP assets is also a huge task," said a second person.

Brookfield Asset Management is looking to hire a CEO for UCP, Mint had reported in March.

Aggarwal, who has experience in PE fund management as well as in real estate development, leaves Milestone Capital at a time when the PE firm is in the middle of raising a new 500 crore fund that will invest in residential projects.

“Milestone has already mandated Hunt Partners Ltd to scout for a CIO (chief investment officer), ideally from a banking background. The company is not looking for a CEO or a replacement for Aggarwal, as the vice-chairman and director Rubi Arya has already assumed the responsibility and has been on the top of things for the last five years," said a third person.

While residential sales have hit a low in most property markets, particularly in the NCR, commercial office space leasing and the sale transactions have performed relatively better.

Last year saw a total leasing of 7.6 million sq.ft. of office space, compared to 6.5 million sq.ft. in 2013.

“This year, we expect it to cross 8 million sq.ft.," said Rajeev Bairathi, executive director, capital transactions group, at property advisory Knight Frank India.

“Lease rates are holding firm in NCR and showing signs of upward revision in some pockets," said Bairathi.

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