Having established a portfolio of 17 industrial developments across eight major markets in India, Blackstone is looking for new leadership for its Horizon Industrial Parks joint venture in the country, Mingtiandi can confirm.
Rahul Pandit, who served as chief executive of the industrial developer and operator from late 2021, has left the company, according to sources familiar with the company’s leadership, with the Mumbai-based firm having yet to name a replacement.
“It has been an honour to lead Horizon over the past two years,” Pandit said in comments to Mingtiandi. “I would like to thank my board and my colleagues for supporting exceptional performance at the enterprise, with Horizon also getting recognised as a Great Place To Work 2023.” He added that he is contemplating a short break while considering a variety of options.
Since acquiring the joint venture then known as Embassy Industrial Parks from Warburg Pincus and local titan Embassy Group in May 2021, through what was reported to be a $700 million deal, Blackstone has built the business both through acquisitions and new development projects to where it now has a portfolio with the potential for 25 million square feet of warehouses and manufacturing space, according to its website.
Having built his career in the hospitality sector, Pandit joined the industrial venture a half-year after the Embassy Industrial Parks acquisition, and just one month before the platform was relaunched as Horizon Industrial Parks in January 2022.
From Beds to Sheds
While under Pandit’s leadership, Horizon Industrial Parks took on development of multiple build-to-suit projects for global partners, including starting work in September on construction of a 900,000 square foot (83,613 square metre) manufacturing facility for Swiss packaging company SIG.
Horizon Industrial Parks also announced in January that it had begun building a build-to-suit facility in Hyderabad for Fosroc, a British supplier of specialist construction chemicals.
Before joining Horizon in December 2021, Pandit had spent two and a half years as managing director and chief executive of Hamstede Living, a student housing and co-living operator established as a joint venture between Warburg Pincus and its India hospitality partner Lemon Tree Hotels.
In a 26-year career in hospitality Pandit served from 2015 through 2018 as chief executive officer of Tata Group’s Ginger Hotels after spending more than a dozen years with Lemon Tree Hotels, where he worked his way up to president and executive director of the chain operator.
Building an India Shed Platform
With the Embassy Industrial Parks acquisition giving it an India industrial portfolio with over one million square feet of grade A logistics and manufacturing assets, the world’s largest alternative asset manager followed up in September 2021 by acquiring a North Delhi warehouse project from local developer TARC Ltd for INR 2.95 billion (now $35.4 million), with local media reports earlier this year indicating that Blackstone is building a 500,000 square foot Amazon fulfilment facility on the site.
Blackstone also expanded Horizon by folding in a logistics portfolio it acquired from Mumbai-based Allcargo Logistics in an INR 14 billion deal in late 2020. That acquisition gave the company a 90 percent stake in what was then 6 million square feet of developed logistics parks and 3 million square feet of development projects, the Business Standard reported.
In a June interview with India’s Economic Times, Asheesh Mohta, a senior managing director with Blackstone who heads the firm’s real estate acquisitions in the country, said the company is looking to expand its India warehouse portfolio from 40 million square feet to 100 million square feet in the next three to five years.