India’s 100 richest real estate tycoons combined have more wealth than China’s richest property baron, China Evergrande Group chairman Xu Jiayin, but not by much.
A recent survey of India’s wealthiest property industry players finds that a set of one hundred developers and investors, led by Lodha Group boss Mangal Prabhat Lodha, have combined assets estimated at $32.3 billion, just over four percent more than Xu’s personal fortune of RMB 215 billion ($31.3 billion), as estimated by tycoon-counting agency Hurun Report.
Despite their apparent hardship compared to their counterparts in mainland China, India’s property tycoons, who were tallied in the GROHE Hurun India Real Estate Rich List 2018 recently, still saw their combined personal net worth rise by 27 percent compared to last year, when the partnership between China-based Hurun and German fancy faucet-maker Grohe published their first India Rich List.
Here’s how the ten biggest money-makers from India’s property industry stacked up in 2018:
The newly crowned richest property tycoon in India, Mangal Prabhat Lodha (estimated worth of $3.8 billion) is also a lawmaker of the country’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. The 63-year-old entrepreneur founded privately held Lodha Group three decades ago by building middle-class homes in Mumbai’s far-flung suburbs. The firm went on an expansion binge, picking up prime land parcels starting in 2013, and it is currently constructing the 75-story Trump Tower in midtown Mumbai. The premium developer also extended its international footprint with the acquisitions of MacDonald House at 1 Grosvenor Square and “New Court” at 48 Carey Street in London in 2013 and 2014.
Jitendra Virwani (estimated at $3.25 billion), also known as Jitu, serves as the chairman of Embassy Group, Bangalore’s biggest developer of office parks, which host a roster of multinational tenants such as Google, IBM and Warburg Pincus. The fast-rising property baron plans to launch India’s first-ever REIT with private equity firm Blackstone, while his son Karan oversees a joint venture in shared office spaces with WeWork. The firm has since 1993 developed 45 million square feet of commercial, residential, hospitality and industrial warehouse spaces and holds an extensive land bank of 1,000 acres across the country.
Rajiv Singh (estimated at $2.48 billion), an MIT graduate, is the vice chairman of Delhi-headquartered DLF, India’s biggest listed property firm. Among its range of commercial and residential developments is the country’s first destination mall, DLF Mall of India, which opened in 2016. Last August, DLF sealed a $1.25 billion joint venture deal with Singaporean sovereign fund GIC to build rental assets in India. The pair also cooperates on a housing project called Midtown in Delhi, which has a total development potential of about seven million square feet over the next four years. In August, Singh and his wife offloaded $49.39 million worth of DLF shares to Delhi-based Rajdhani Investments and Agencies via an open-market transaction.
Chandru Raheja (estimated at $2.02 billion) ventured out on his own to build K. Raheja Corp. in 1996 after a split in his family property empire. Today the group is one of Mumbai’s leading developers for IT parks, hotels, malls and listed department store chain Shoppers Stop. In 2017, Raheja sold a 15 percent stake in his 20-million-square-foot income-producing office portfolio to private equity firm Blackstone for $260 million. He is also planning to list his privately held Chalet Hotels, which owns a string of hotel properties including the Marriott and Renaissance brands. The hospitality company currently manages around 2,800 rooms and is planning to add 1,500-2,000 keys through acquisitions and 1,000 rooms through greenfield developments over the next five years.
Vikas Oberoi (estimated at $1.54 billion) controls and runs Mumbai-listed Oberoi Realty. The 48-year-old alumnus of Harvard Business School transformed his father’s small firm into the country’s second-most-valued real estate company behind DLF in two decades’ time. Among the 11.89 million square feet of real estate the upscale developer has built and additional 27.43 million square feet in the making is India’s second tallest skyscraper, Three Sixty West in Mumbai. The landmark development comprises two towers that are connected by a podium accommodating such amenities as restaurants and ballrooms. The property will also house Mumbai’s first Ritz-Carlton hotel and residences, due to open in 2019.
Niranjan Hiranandani (pictured) and Surendra Hiranandani (each estimated at $1.1 billion) founded Hiranandani Group together, although Surendra now runs his independent venture in Singapore. The two brothers bought 250 acres of land in suburban Mumbai’s Powai in 1985 and started developing an upmarket township named Hiranandani Gardens, which houses 42 residential buildings and 23 commercial buildings. In 2016, Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management acquired the group’s offices and retail space in Powai for around $1 billion in India’s largest commercial transaction. Developed over a period of more than a decade, this portfolio of 4.5 million square feet of commercial space was fully leased, with tenants including Tata Consultancy Services, Nomura Group and Deloitte Consulting India. The pair still jointly own the Hiranandani Gardens township, which they built on a former quarry.
Ajay Piramal (estimated at $896 million) chairs the Piramal Group, which has business interests in pharmaceuticals, information management, financial services, glass packaging and real estate. The group entered the real estate business, which includes realty financing and property development, after the sale of flagship revenue earner Abbott — the pharmaceutical multinational — for a record sum of nearly $2.24 billion in 2010. Warburg Pincus and Goldman Sachs invested around $434 million in Piramal Realty in 2015 and the firm today has four major assets under development, such as the 32-acre project at Thane in greater Mumbai, with residential towers and town homes, supported with offices, retail, educational, and spiritual centres.
Raj Menda and Manjoy Menda (pictured, each estimated at $829 million) co-founded the Bengaluru-based RMZ Corp, one of India’s largest business park developers in 2002. The millionaire brothers struck a nearly $1 billion deal this April to buy back shares held by Qatar Investment Authority and Baring Private Equity Partners in a bid to consolidate all established fully tenanted business parks under the holding company RMZ Infotech (RIPL). The Mendas now retain full ownership of RIPL through family trusts.
The combined net worth of the 100 Indian property professionals on the list grew from $28.6 billion in 2017, pushing the combined assets of the country’s real estate rich list beyond the GDP of Cyprus, according to the list’s chief researcher, Anas Rahman.
Almost 59 percent of the names featured in the report are first-generation entrepreneurs, while the average age of the individuals in the list is 59.
Mumbai is the most preferred city of residence for the Indian real estate tycoons, followed by Delhi and Bengaluru, in a country with the largest homeless population in the world.