Emaar MGF seeking foreign retail partner

Emaar MGF seeking foreign retail partner

New Delhi: The Indian unit of West Asia’s largest real estate developer, Emaar MGF Land Pvt. Ltd, is seeking an overseas partner to start a retail venture in the country.

“Retail will play an important role in growth and diversification," Shravan Gupta, vice-chairman of New Delhi-based Emaar MGF, said in an interview on Wednesday. “We are looking at a foreign company that’s not present in India. We can hand-hold them here."

The developer, which is building at least five malls in India, plans to use its expertise in the property market to help an overseas partner establish a presence in the country. Sales at chain stores may rise as much as 35% annually until 2015 to $80 billion (about Rs4 trillion), according to estimates by consultants McKinsey and Co.

The developer, which cancelled a plan to raise $1.8 billion in an initial stock sale in January, is also focusing on completion of existing projects and counting on sales of cheaper apartments as higher mortgage rates depress demand for homes.

“We have looked at different products to cater to the mid market and the mass market," said Gupta.

He also wants banks to cut interest rates on mortgages to boost demand.

“We would have used the land to build more premium homes, where margins are higher, but we are utilizing it to build homes for the mass market," he said.

Gupta is seeking concessions from the government, including tax breaks, to encourage developers to build lower-priced homes.