A fund backed by Allianz Real Estate and Indian developer Shapoorji Pallonji Group has notched India’s biggest commercial real estate deal of the year as the managers of the investment vehicle have agreed to purchase a landmark Hyderabad office development for $250 million.
SPREF II, an India office investment vehicle set up two years ago by Allianz and Shapoorji Pallonji, is buying the WaveRock office campus from a 50:50 JV between New York-based developer Tishman Speyer and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, according to an announcement by the European insurance giant.
The transaction, which is the fourth major direct investment in Indian real estate by the insurer, is the latest milestone in a migration of international institutions toward property opportunities in the subcontinent, as fund managers pursue the promise of India’s rising rents and growing commercial sector.
Buying a World Class Asset in India
“This is one of the marquee commercial developments in India and is a terrific addition to Allianz’s office portfolio in 24/7 global cities,” Rushabh Desai, Asia Pacific CEO of Allianz Real Estate said of the WaveRock complex.
SPREF II paid $104 per square foot for the LEED Gold-certified development, which was designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and houses 20,000 professionals across its 2.4 million square feet (223,000 square metres) of net leasable area in the southern Indian city.
Under the terms of the deal, which according to a local India media account received government approval last year, the Allianz-Shapoorji fund is acquiring one hundred percent of the interest in TSI Business Parks (Hyderabad) Private Limited, which owns, operates and maintains WaveRock.
With the final, third phase of the development having opened in 2017, seven years after the completion of phase one, the four buildings that make up the WaveRock campus are now fully leased to global technology, industrial and services giants such as Apple, TCS, and Accenture, according to Allianz.
Located in the Gachibowli tech hub, a high-growth employment corridor that is already home to Microsoft, Franklin Templeton, and UBS, the campus benefits from access to the Gachibowli Expressway and the city’s Outer Ring Road.
“The acquisition of WaveRock represents the confidence of global institutional investors in the Indian commercial real estate growth story,” said Shapoorji Pallonji Investment Advisors’ CEO, Rajesh Agarwal.
Creating a Corporate Ecosystem in Hyderabad
Supported by the Hyderabad government as a special economic zone (SEZ) development, GIC purchased a 50 percent stake in the WaveRock campus in 2015 for INR 10 billion ($141 million) from Tishman Speyer, according to The Economic Times of India.
Advisors from JLL, which advised on the transaction, view the deal as evidence of both growing investor interest in India, and the appeal of Hyderbad’s tech-driven economy.
“This deal underpins the strong investor confidence in India’s office market, as we’re seeing our clients becoming more active in expanding their real estate portfolios,” said Priyank Shah, Director of Capital Markets for JLL Asia Pacific. “With Hyderabad’s growing technology and e-commerce industry, this is creating demand for premium office space along the financial district, a highly-sought after sector that investors are keen to be part of.”
“This sale represents a very successful culmination of Tishman Speyer’s build to core strategy for the India property market,” said Tishman Speyer’s Managing Director & Country Head for India, Avnish Singh.
Singh added that WaveRock was the first instance of a foreign investor in India demonstrating the ability to “create a world class development in multiple cycles and creating an ecosystem for corporates very mindful of harnessing their human capital.”
Tishman Speyer had originally partnered with Indian private equity firm ICICI Venture on the WaveRock development in a 50:50 JV. The unit of ICICI bank then sold its 50 percent stake to Tishman Speyer in 2008 at an undisclosed price, which made the US real estate investor the sole owner of the project, until GIC bought in four years ago.
Allianz Expands JV
For Allianz, this week’s deal marks its second joint acquisition with Shapoorji Pallonji, a more than 150-year-old Indian conglomerate that has become one of the nation’s largest developers, and is the latest in a string of India deals by the European insurer.
Just over two years ago, the Munich-based firm’s Singapore-domiciled, closed-ended joint venture with Shapoorji, SPREF II, had agreed to pay INR 11 billion ($155 million) SP Infocity, a 1.8 million square foot business park in Pune according to a local India media account. In Allianz’ statement today Desai said today that the project in the Maharashtra state commercial hub was “outperforming its business plan.”
With total equity commitments of $500 million from investors, SPREF’s strategy is to target office assets in first tier cities in India to build up a blended portfolio of develop-to-core, forward purchases, and stabilized or stabilizing assets.
The performance in Pune provides support for Allianz’ India commercial real estate thesis, with Desai noting that, “Office investments in India continue to offer attractive risk-adjusted returns.”
Aiming at Offices and Industrial
Also demonstrating this strategy is Allianz’s office-focused joint venture with Godrej Properties and the Netherlands’ APG Asset Management, which the insurer entered four months ago with an investment of $150 million.
Allianz’s commitment gave it a one-third stake in the closed-end platform, which is managed by Godrej Properties and is seeded with two of the developer’s existing office projects – one in Mumbai and another in Gurgaon – with a combined gross floor area of two million square feet, as well as a pipeline of 1.3 million square feet in Bangalore.
“Income-producing real estate opportunities in India continue to draw strong interest from global institutional investors and sovereign wealth funds, as they offer high growth and stable yields,” added Stuart Crow, CEO of Capital Markets for JLL Asia Pacific. “Looking ahead, we can foresee investors forming more joint ventures and club deals, where buyers can access India’s tightly-held market and have more control over the property operators and managers.”
Allianz also announced last year that it was contributing an initial $225 million capitalisation to a 50:50 joint venture with ESR to acquire logistics facilities in India.