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RMZ Corp in talks with CPPIB, Qatar Investment Authority to raise $1 bn
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Bengaluru-based real estate developer RMZ Corp is in talks with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Qatar Investment Authority to raise as much as $1 billion (around Rs 6,405 crore), according to a media report.

The possible funding will help the developer expand its office rental portfolio from 21 million sq ft to 60 million sq ft in five years, The Times of India reported.

The firm plans to raise $900 million to $1 billion through an equity infusion to fuel growth, Thirumal Govindraj, managing director, RMZ Corp, told the newspaper.

If Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), which already has a tie-up with RMZ, pumps in more capital, it will be adding to its $600 million exposure to the developer while Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) will come in as a new investor.

According to the report, RMZ Infotech, which houses the commercial office parks of the firm, is 50% owned by the promoter Menda family while the remaining stake is equally split between QIA and Baring Private Equity Partners India. The firm is likely to go through a shareholding reshuffle to buy back the stake of Baring or bring a new investor to give it an exit.

RMZ is also separately working on taking its commercial real estate unit public through the real estate investment trust (REIT) route.

The fundraising plans of RMZ Corp for its commercial division come at a time when a lot of developers are scouting for joint venture or platform opportunities with global partners. Recently, in one of the biggest transactions in the real estate space in the country, the promoter group of DLF sealed an agreement with GIC to divest its 40% stake in its rental arm. The deal is valued around Rs 18,000 crore.

Mumbai-based K Raheja Group recently struck a deal with real estate giant Blackstone for selling its rent-yielding assets. CPPIB, which has gone aggressive on its real estate investments in India, recently struck two platform deals with The Phoenix Group and IndoSpace for retail and warehousing assets, respectively.

A lot of global firms, especially sovereign and pension funds, have ramped up their focus on the commercial real estate market in India. While the overall market sentiment has been weak, the commercial segment has remained a bright spot, given the momentum on leasing and declining levels of vacancy.

According to a recent report by consultancy firm CBRE, 2016 was a landmark year for the sector, with record absorption levels of over 43 million sq ft, reflecting a 9% year-on-year growth. High absorption levels and global investor interest will continue to bring life into India’s office sector in 2017 and absorption is likely to be in the range of 40 million sq ft, according to the report.

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