Cerestra buys Alexandria Knowledge Park for $60 mn

Cerestra Advisors Ltd, a real estate-focused private equity firm, has bought an office park - Alexandria Knowledge Park – in Hyderabad for Rs 400 crore ($60 million) as it kicks off work on creating a pool of office assets in India, a person privy to the development told VCCircle.

The fund has a research and development (R&D)-focused property in Hyderabad's Genome Valley as a part of its plan to build portfolios of income-generating assets in India, the person cited above said.

The Times of India first reported the development. Email queries sent to Cerestra and Alexandria did not elicit a response.

“The deal was triggered by Alexandria's move to exit India. Cerstra is being backed by Singapore-based asset manager Lighthouse Canton in acquiring the asset,” the report said. 

The asset boasts of tenants such as pharma giant Novartis, Swiss biotechnology company Lonza, Bharat Biotech, among others. It has leased office space of 5,00,000 sq ft but its total built-up potential is higher at 25,00,000 million sq ft, the report said.

However, it did not have any confirmation from any of the companies involved.

Cerestra, which is currently acquiring school assets from its maiden fund, is in the midst of setting up a new fund focused on office assets in India. This marks its debut investment from the second corpus. Recently, Jasmeet Chhabra, managing partner, Cerestra Advisors, said the company is planning to tap into offshore investors in its second outing while it deploys capital from the maiden fund.

“The fund is a precursor to our objective of doing an InvIT. A decent-sized InvIT would be one of $350-500 million in portfolio value, and we plan to bring in our own assets along with the option of pooling in assets from another entity in the same sector to bring it up to a certain size and then list it,” he had said. 

On the education front, it has so far brought a couple of deals under its kitty while some more are in discussion stage. As first reported by VCCircle, it bought school assets from Mumbai-based Witty International. It has also bought a clutch of assets from Bangalore based Jain Group of Institutions (JGI) that was pegged at Rs 240 crore.

In addition, the firm was in talks with Dubai-based Global Education Management Systems (GEMS) International School to acquire one of its assets in India.

Cerestra was set up as an affiliate of Religare’s asset management arm Religare Global Asset Management (RGAM). As part of the financial services company’s consolidation move, it sold its stake in Cerestra to London- and Dubai-based private investment firm The Capital Partnership Group Ltd (TCP) for an undisclosed amount. The deal marked TCP's entry into the Indian real estate investments segment. This was Religare’s second deal with TCP in less than six months.

VCCircle had first reported that Religare was setting up a real estate-focused PE arm that will pool in assets for listing them eventually.

The firm last year came out with a plan to raise a Rs 1,000 crore fund to invest in education infrastructure across the country.

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