Societe Generale eyes 200 million euros for India

Societe Generale eyes 200 million euros for India

Tokyo: Societe Generale Asset Management plans to raise up to €200 million (Rs1,170 crore, $296 million) in equity by September 2008 to invest in residential property developments in India, a company executive said on Wednesday.

The fund management division of Societe Generale, which has already started investing in Japan, said the next Asian markets it is likely to enter will be South Korea and Singapore.

The French asset management firm is ready to establish a foothold in India, which it says has been relatively untouched by foreign investors compared with China.

“China is already largely invested by international funds because the country has been open for 10 years for international investors. But that is not the case for India," Jean-Christophe Ginet, global head of real estate at Societe General Asset Management, told Reuters on the sidelines of a property conference in Tokyo.

“We are in the middle of the first closing ... with €50 million, and the final size would be €200 million," Ginet said, adding that the first sum would be raised by January and the final closing will be next September.

Ginet said his firm had tied up with local partners in India to develop residential projects targeting the middle and upper-middle class.

“We will invest in 10 to 12 township projects," he said. One project in Jaipur is a residential complex of 900,000 square metres (9.688 million sq ft), he said.

The fund will aim for an internal rate of return of 20-plus on a net basis after deducting costs such as fees and taxes.

Ginet also said Societe Generale hopes to expand its presence in Asia. “The next, in 2009, will be Korea. I think that’s the time to enter Korea," he said, adding that Singapore was another market his firm would target.