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Ankur Gupta, senior vice president at Brookfield Asset Management. (Photo: Mint)
Ankur Gupta, senior vice president at Brookfield Asset Management. (Photo: Mint)

Brookfield eyes warehousing, rental housing to expand India realty portfolio

  • The company is exploring more options in the real estate sector to expand its portfolio beyond commercial office space
  • Brookfield is currently in the final leg of acquiring Hotel Leelaventure's hotel assets in India for about Rs. 4,500 crore

Mumbai: Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management Inc. is scouting for investment opportunities in emerging real estate asset classes in India, particularly rental housing and warehousing, a senior company executive said.

The company, which is set to enter the hospitality segment, is exploring more options in the real estate sector to expand its portfolio beyond commercial office space, said Ankur Gupta, senior vice-president at Brookfield Asset Management.

“Over a period of time, we will, of course, be focusing on growing our office business. But alongside, we will bring our expertise into the hospitality business, rental or student housing business and at some point, logistics," Gupta said in an interview. “There is umpteen demand for space in India in these three verticals."

Brookfield is currently in the final leg of acquiring Hotel Leelaventure Ltd’s hotel assets in India for about Rs. 4,500 crore, a transaction that will mark its entry into the Indian hospitality sector.

The company will buy four of five Leela hotels in India besides a large land parcel from the Mumbai-based hospitality chain, Mint reported on 17 December.

Brookfield, which has built $3.5 billion of assets under management (AUM) in just about six years in India, is currently one of the largest owners of commercial office space spanning 25 million sq. ft.

The new acquisitions and expansion plans would be supported by its global fund, which has recently raised around $15 billion to invest in real estate worldwide.

“In some of these sectors, we are in a laboratory mode, while we are also in active discussion mode in others. But we are a long-term patient investor. We start our investment cycle much before the actual first dollars are invested," he said.

Brookfield closed its first blockbuster deal in India’s real estate space by acquiring Unitech Corporate Parks in 2014.

Since then, it has grown aggressively, making some of the biggest real estate deals in India. Its top acquisitions include Hiranandani Group’s office and retail space in suburban Mumbai’s Powai for 6,700 crore and Essar Group’s Equinox commercial complex for 2,400 crore.

“We have successfully raised $15 billion of equity capital...so we can deploy very large pools of capital wherever there is opportunity. And we also have more than 18,000 real estate personnel as part of our global franchise who can add value from operations," said Gupta, who recently moved to Mumbai from Brookfield’s New York office.

Even as the company looks to invest in other asset classes, commercial office space would remain its main area focus. While Brookfield currently has a large presence in Delhi-NCR and Mumbai in the commercial office space, it is also looking at making a major foray into southern India.

“For our office business, we are focussed on National Capital Region, Mumbai and western part of India. Now, we are evaluating the southern region. It would be prudent to have a presence in this part of the country," Gupta said.

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