Golden State Capital looks to raise $500M REIT in Singapore to buy commercial assets in India

India and US-focused private equity firm Golden State Capital (GSC) is looking to raise over $500 million through a real estate investment trust (REIT) in Singapore to acquire office properties in  India, as per a Business Standard report quoting GSC chairman Sumit Nanda.

Besides Nanda, who is an IIM A alumnus, the PE firm counts amongst its board members top rainmaker Prahlad Shantigram, former global head of M&A for StanChart, Dabur Group’s Mohit Burman and Gaurav Pandey who joined the firm two months back as CEO. Pandey was previously head of research at PropEquity and in the past worked at Ascendas and Sahara Infrastructure & Housing.

GSC started investing in India in 2002 with construction of leased assets in the country by recovering industrial buildings. Then in 2008, it signed a joint venture pact with realty investment firm Ascendas to develop a 62-acre IT SEZ in Gurgaon. Last year it acquired some distressed assets in the US.

Early this year, it roped in Pandey as CEO and formed a JV with Dabur promoters the Burman family for business opportunities in the realty space through Burman GSC.

“Together with our investors, we are looking for stabilised office assets that are FDI (foreign direct investment)-compliant. We will have an appetite of close to $1 billion in three years, if we get opportunities at appropriate valuations," Nanda told Business Standard in an interview.

He said the firm is looking at assets built and leased in the last two to four years besides stabilised assets with blue-chip tenants. “Under the REIT, we are targeting opportunities that are fully leased out or have certainty to be leased out soon," Nanda said.

He said he is bullish on REIT as a platform to acquire office assets in cities like Gurgaon, Noida, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, Mumbai and Hyderabad.

REIT is a vehicle that invests in real estate directly, either through properties or mortgages. REITs are listed and traded on the stock exchanges like stocks.

Indian capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India had released draft guidelines for REITs in October which will enable them to list on local bourses. So far, REITs incorporated in Singapore have been investing in India.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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