Ascendas-Singbridge Group plans to float fund for warehouses

Singapore-based real estate firm Ascendas-Singbridge Group plans to float a private equity fund to back warehousing and logistics parks in India cities. 

Sanjay Dutt, the newly appointed chief executive officer of India operations, told The Economic Times that the company has the capability to build warehouses as well as control and manage development. "We do not want to be dependent on a particular sector and we are looking to derisk," he said.

The business space solutions provider will set up logistics parks at the outskirts of major cities on land parcels spread across 50-100 acres. It will look at either forging joint ventures/joint development agreements or sourcing land on its own to mark its presence in the segment. "Our intention is to be a pan-India player. We may start with one region and then grow our presence," Dutt said.

The plan for the new fund is likely to get crystalised by the end of the year.

The company is also looking at growing its office portfolio in India by acquiring operational office assets and lapping up land parcels for greenfield projects.

The portfolio of Ascendas India (now Ascendas-Singbridge India) includes International Tech Park and CyberVale in Chennai; International Tech Park in Bangalore; CyberPearl, The V and aVance in Hyderabad and International Tech Park in Pune. 

Ascendas-Singbridge has been present in India for over two decades now under its subsidiary Ascendas India. The group currently manages close to 10 million sq ft of assets in India, valued at S$1.9 billion, across Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune and Gurgaon with seven IT parks catering to over 400 clients.

As reported by VCCircle, the company recently hired Sanjay Dutt from Cushman & Wakefield to lead its India operations.

Ascendas-Singbridge's plan to float a fund comes at a time when the promise of high growth in warehousing and logistics is luring not only foreign investors but also private equity firms to India. According to real estate consultancy form JLL India, policies allowing 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in warehouses and food storage facilities under automatic routes as well as declaring some zones to be tax-free have made the sector appear on the foreign PE investment radar.

The warehousing and logistics sector in India received a whopping investment of Rs 1,438 crore through two major deals in 2015 after a slump over the last couple of years, according to JLL data.

Recently, another Singapore headquartered developer Assetz Property shared its plan to bet on warehousing segment in India. The realtor picked up stake in asset management company Avenue Venture Partners and the duo is now raising a Rs 150 million fund to be invested in warehouses across India.

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