Mumbai: Allcargo Logistics Ltd, the port logistics firm promoted by Shashi Kiran Shetty, has bought a 30% stake in Singapore Slammers, one of the four teams in International Premier Tennis League, the brainchild of tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi.

Former cricketer Sunil Gavaskar owns 10% in the team. The cost of investment was not immediately available.

The first season of the league, planned on the lines of the Indian Premier League cricket tournament, will start in December. Apart from Singapore Slammers, there are teams representing Manila, New Delhi and Dubai. Four more teams are expected to join the league.

As a co-owner of Singapore Slammers, Allcargo Logistics will have to spend $6 million in player fees, franchisee fees and logistics charges. This is part of the total cost of the 30% stake.

“However, at least $3 million is assured by the way of television rights and sponsorship revenues. The tennis league would feature all international stars barring Roger Federer," Shetty, executive chairman of Allcargo Logistics, said, adding that ownership of the team will boost his firm’s corporate identity.

Allcargo Logistics hopes to become the world’s largest LCL (less than a container load) operator by the end of this fiscal year, overtaking the Vanguard Logistics Group of the US. LCL is where a company collects small parcels of cargo to fill in a full container load.

In 2005, the firm bought a majority stake in Belgium-based ECU-Line NV and the balance next year. The takeover of ECU-Line, which had five times the acquirer’s revenue in 2006, for an enterprise value of approximately €50 million, made Allcargo the world’s No. 2 LCL firm overnight after Vanguard.

Shetty is nurturing his investment instinct on a personal front as well. He has founded the 150 crore Black Soil Realty Fund along with Sunil Gala, president of Navneet Publications Ltd, the Gala family’s flagship firm, and Virendra Gala, a real estate consultant. Their joint investment is 120 crore and the rest from friends.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India-registered fund, invests in real estate projects in Mumbai and Thane. So far, it has invested 80 crore in two projects. “Once we exhaust our funds, we have plans to list this fund to raise funds. Our idea is to make this a 1,000 crore real estate fund in the next three to five years," Shetty said.

Shetty was in the news after he acquired Aashirwad, a plush bungalow in Bandra which belonged to Rajesh Khanna, for 85 crore in July. Outside this sea-facing 700 sq. metre property, fans would flock to catch a glimpse of India’s first superstar. Previously, the bungalow belonged to actor Rajendra Kumar.

“I always wanted to own a bungalow. I wanted to buy some property in South Mumbai. But this was the only bungalow available and my wife and children liked it. They prevailed," Shetty said in an interview on Tuesday.

“I am very proud to own the bungalow. I wanted more space. I wanted a location where I will feel more comfortable to spend the rest of my life so that I can think and feel better."