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Ashok Piramal Group seeks nod for $350 m realty fund

NEW DELHI, NOV. 20: The Peninsula Realty Fund (PRF), launched by Peninsula Land Ltd (PLL), the flagship company of the around Rs 3,000-crore Ashok Piramal Group, has sought the Foreign Investment Promotion Board's permission to set up a realty fund of up to an aggregate of $350 million (Rs 1, 540 crore approximately) for investment in units by overseas investors.

'We expect to get FIPB approval and we are also waiting for the Cabinet committee approval in a week's time. We expect to be in the market in the second week of December,” says Rajesh Jaggi, MD, Peninsula Land.

Asset managers Peninsula Investment Management Company Ltd are managing the fund. The proposal for the fund is in line with the company's strategy to leverage the potential of India's rapidly growing real estate sector, a company source said. Merrill Lynch had earlier forecast that the Indian realty sector is on track for exponential development to grow to $90 billion by 2015, soaring from an estimated $12 billion in 2005.

The PRF scheme proposes to float two separate schemes – Scheme A, which would undertake various real estate projects and will be open only to domestic investors; while Scheme B would undertake investments only in projects that are compliant with FDI-related policies of the government, besides all other applicable laws and regulations.

The proposed $350 million fund falls in Scheme B of the PRF portfolio, and will target reputed institutional investors, non-resident individuals, including NRIs, and foreign corporates, an industry source said. The amount will be raised from overseas investors through a special purpose company that will be incorporated in an overseas jurisdiction, the company's application to the FIBP had stated earlier.

'While the PRF fund could get automatic approval because the proposed foreign investment is intended for those projects that are permitted under the FDI investment policy, the application is seeking the board's approval since the proposal is being made under the Domestic Venture Capital Fund and not in shares or convertible debentures.

PLL has been on expansion mode for sometime now, and has been scouting for large acreage projects all over India as it remains on track developing a few major residential cum commercial projects, besides also expanding into SEZs and tech-parks in Goa and Pune. PLL is roughly valued at about Rs 1,900 crore in the market and was formed after the parent company Morarjee Goculdas Spinning & Weaving was split to form Morarjee Textiles and Morarjee Realties. Morarjee Realities then merged with Piramal Holdings to form Peninsula Land. Source : Financial Express, November 21, 2006 << Back