Equity International (EI), an investment firm which has backed real estate and hospitality ventures around the world, has closed a $75 million commitment to SAMHI, a developer and owner of hotels in India. SAMI has been sponsored by GTI Capital Group, an investment firm set up by the likes of Dabur Group’s Gaurav Burman and Dalmia Group’s Gaurav Dalmia.
The investment was made by EI’s Singapore operating company. SAMHI’s board will include Equity International’s Christopher Fiegen and Vijay Jayaraman besides Ashish Jakhanwala, Manav Thadani, and Gaurav Burman and Gaurav Dalmia of GTI.
Equity International was founded in 1999 by Sam Zell (who sold his portfolio of 573 properties, Equity Office Properties Trust, to the Blackstone Group for $39 billion in 2007) and Gary Garrabrant. Till date, the firm has raised over $2 billion and invested in 22 portfolio companies across 14 countries.
Equity International has recently invested $75 million in Terranum Development, a leading corporate property company in Colombia. It has also made investments in Mexico, Brazil, China and Egypt.
Gurgaon-based SAMHI is a newly formed hospitality property company, focused on the development, acquisition and ownership of select-service, business-class hotels across India. It has started hotel property development in Bangalore, Chennai and Gurgaon, which will include four hotels and 630 keys with brands such as Courtyard, Fairfield by Marriott and Hyatt Place. SAMHI is also looking at opportunities in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune and Kolkata.
SAMHI has recently formed a JV with Marriott International to develop Marriott-branded properties across the Indian subcontinent and is also working with other hotel operators and brands.
SAMHI’s management team includes its CEO Ashish Jakhanwala who had previously led the development of Accor’s hotel portfolio in India, Manav Thadani, chairman of HVS India, and Steve Rushmore, president and founder of HVS, a hospitality consulting firm.
“India currently has 42 cities of over one million people, a number expected to grow to nearly 70 million by 2030. These cities are projected to generate 70 per cent of the country’s GDP. Travel and tourism are predicted to grow at rates similar to those of the broader economy and the hospitality sector is projected to double in size over the next seven years. Lastly, India has some of the lowest per capita hotel room penetration rates in the world while products targeting the value-conscious business traveller are significantly undersupplied,” a statement said.
GTI Capital Group is a privately held investment firm founded by Gaurav Burman (who also runs the PE firm Elephant Capital), Gaurav Dalmia (who runs the real estate investment firm Landmark), Jonathan Schulhof (who looks after the day-to-day operations of GTI) and Madhav Dhar (co-founder of the multi-billion-dollar hedge fund Traxis). GTI Capital has also sponsored companies like day care surgery chain Nova Medical and MRO Airworks.