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Omaxe sees net debt down at 880-890 cr

Omaxe sees net debt down at 880-890 cr

Mumbai: Real estate developer Omaxe Ltd expects net debt to fall to 880-890 crore by 31 March as it plans to repay debt over the next three quarters, mainly from operations, a top official said on Tuesday.

“For the next nine months, we have a target of repayment of another 400 crores. There could be new loans also for new projects. So, effectively, we still see that we will be repaying net of 200-250 crore in the next nine months," Sumit Arora, vice-president, investor and strategic relations, Omaxe, told Reuters in an interview.

As on 30 June, the company’s net debt was about 1,050 crore. The firm, which has a gross debt of 1,477 crore, expects to cut it to 1,250 crore by the end of this financial year.

“Our cash flows have been good for the last quarter as well. We mobilised almost 540 crore from business and cash accruals from old sales and new bookings put together."

Admitting that sales in July so far have not been very aggressive, he said he expected to sell 2.2-2.5 million square feet of space in July-Sept. In April-June, the sales stood at 2.62 million square feet.

“At couple of projects we are waiting for some approvals. The moment those approvals are in place, we believe those projects will pick up..."

For FY12, it is expecting to sell about 9-10 million square feet, compared with 9.76 million in the previous financial year.

Property prices in major Indian cities have more than doubled over the past 18 months, but sales volumes are down almost 40% from a year ago as high prices and rising borrowing costs deter buyers.

Interest costs burden

Omaxe’s consolidated net profit in June quarter fell 7.78% to 20.03 crore.

“Net profit is down largely because of the interest rate impact," Arora said, adding the company’s cost of funds during the past one year has gone up about 150-160 basis points.

India’s central bank raised interest rates by a higher-than-expected 50 basis points in 26 July — 11th increase since March 2010 — stepping up its fight against persistently high inflation despite slowing growth in Asia’s third-largest economy.

Omaxe, which also undertakes infrastructure projects through unit Omaxe Infrastructure and Construction Ltd, has an infrastructure order book as on 30 June was at 1,370 crore.

It has placed bids for additional projects, but declined to give further details.

He, however, said fear of scams and scandals have brought down the companies’ keenness to bid for new projects.

The Indian government was grappled with a slew of scandals that have seen several leading coalition politicians sacked, brought parliament to a standstill and raised questions about the prime minister’s judgement.

At 2:36 p.m., shares in Omaxe were down 1.2% at 124.5 in a Mumbai market that was down 1.4%.

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