Real estate firm Lodha Group has clocked around ₹2000 crore of sales in the December quarter, taking its overall sales in the current financial year to just under ₹5000 crore, said a top company executive.
Lodha’s sales in 2018-19 were at ₹7000 crore, and given that the March quarter is usually the strongest in terms of sales, the developer may surpass it in 2019-20.
The October-December quarter sales were up 30% compared to the corresponding quarter a year ago, and were largely driven by its recently launched affordable housing brand, Crown.
“While much of the sales may have come from the affordable housing projects, we have sold well across price points, including the premium projects. The takeaway from this is that demand is strong, end-users are looking to buy and the marketplace is moving towards larger developers who have delivered in the past," said managing director Abhishek Lodha in a telephonic interview.
Mumbai-based Lodha Group launched its affordable housing brand last year and sells homes in the ₹25-50 lakh price bracket under ‘Crown’.
Over the next 12-19 months, Lodha plans to monetize the ready, unsold inventory in its premium and luxury projects before launching new developments. It has only launched a relatively small project in Lower Parel in recent times.
“…In 2020, we expect our affordable housing business to grow further, from the 60% of sales that it constitutes now. We expect this year to be a stronger one compared to the last, with growth driven by both residential along with our office and warehousing business," Lodha said.
Currently, Lodha is gearing up towards a new bond issue primarily to repay debt. Around $325 million worth of bonds are maturing by March.
Lodha said besides the new bond issue, the company has recently repaid around ₹1000 crore of debt and has around ₹16,000 crore from its India business. Another ₹2000 crore of debt would be from its projects in London.
The firm plans to repay around ₹6000 crore by May, he said.
Mint reported on 26 December that Lodha is raising close to $225 million (around ₹1,600 crore) by selling bonds to meet debt repayment obligations.
Lodha, which had planned to an initial public offering (IPO) to raise nearly ₹5000 crore last year, didn’t launch it.