A joint venture between Xander Group and Dutch pension fund manager APG has acquired a pair of shopping malls in India from Tata Realty for INR 7 billion ($100 million), according to an announcement.
The acquisition of the two Trilium-branded malls – one in the Punjab city of Amritsar and one in the Maharashtra city of Nagpur – brings to six the number of operational India retail centres held by Virtuous Retail South Asia, a 12-year-old partnership between the Singapore private equity firm and the Dutch investment giant.
Virtuous Retail’s purchase comes just two months after it announced a $340 million investment in a retail-anchored development in Mumbai, as the company ramps up its acquisitions in line with its pan-India expansion strategy. The company also has another three malls under development.
“We are very pleased to expand our footprint in Maharashtra and Punjab and add two strategic assets to our award-winning retail portfolio in India,” said Virtuous Retail’s founder and chairman Sid Yog.
Buying the Retail Component of a Mixed-use Development
The Bangalore-based retail developer and operator’s Amritsar acquisition opened six years ago, after Tata had spent INR 5.1 billion developing the shopping centre, along with an adjoining upscale hotel and residential complex, according to local press accounts.
Designed by architects RTKL, the LEED-compliant mall has one million square feet of net leasable area spread across a 240,000 square foot (2,583 square metre) site. The hotel and residential elements were not included in this latest transaction.
The Nagpur centre opened in 2017, and achieved a fresh milestone this year when it welcomed the city’s first McDonald’s. Located at a junction that connects Nagpur’s six arterial roads, Tata had developed the 700,000 square foot retail facility (by leasable area) at an estimated cost of INR 1 billion, according to local press accounts.
The two newly acquired centres bring Virtuous Retail’s operational and under-development retail portfolio to over 13 million square feet (1.2 million square metres) across four major cities and another four gateway cities in India.
Investing in Repositioning
Virtuous Retail said in its announcement that it plans to invest fresh capital to reposition and rebrand the shopping centres in keeping with the company’s other “community-centric” malls.
The joint venture’s “VR” brand centres incorporates shopping, dining, and entertainment in people-friendly spaces, while the facilities also host events that draw on local heritage.
“After the repositioning, we expect these community-centric centres to address the aspirations of the local communities of Amritsar and Nagpur, and provide world class retail, entertainment and urban infrastructure that will strengthen the international standing of these cities as major tourist hubs,” Yog said.
Xander Steps Up Acquisitions in India
The purchase by the Xander-backed unit follows a wave of activity across the logistics and office sectors in India by the private equity real estate arm of Singapore-based Xander Group.
Just two months ago, Xander Investment Management set up a $250 million platform to invest in logistics assets in the country.Raising capital from European institutional investors, the platform is seeded with two million square feet of assets in Mumbai and Chennai worth $80 million.
In August, just two months before that logistics fund was announced, the firm purchased a business park in Pune for INR 9 billion. The 1.1 million square foot Weikfield IT Citi Info Park is fully leased to tenants including Whirlpool and Maersk.