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Shibulal eyes hotels in western Europe for acquisition

29 September, 2015

Infosys co-founder SD Shibulal’s family-owned hospitality venture Tamara Real Estate and Development Pvt Ltd, which started with one owned and operated luxury property in Coorg three years ago, plans to set up at least two more four-star hotels by 2017 and is looking to buy assets in the German-speaking part of Europe.

Shibulal’s daughter Shruti, the promoter and head of strategy at Tamara, told VCCircle that the company will soon start developing a four-star business hotel in Thiruvananthapuram and a four-star leisure hotel in the temple town of Guruvayoor, both in Kerala.

“By 2017 we should at least have two more owned properties. We are doing the ground breaking in Thiruvananthapuram this week. A lot depends on approvals and things like that. Luckily, a lot of them have come through,” she said.

Tamara operates a European-themed hostel in Bangalore under the brand Lilac and ‘Palma Laguna’, a villa on the backwaters of Alleppey in Kerala. The company has projects at inception stage in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, and in Bangalore. It also plans to expand its Lilac brand of hostels to other cities.

Shruti, an MBA from Columbia Business School, ventured into her own business after a three-year stint with Merrill Lynch. She is driving Tamara’s overseas expansion as well.

“We are looking at investments in the German-speaking part of the Europe. There are a lot of opportunities there,” she said.

“Europe as a market is very transparent and it is extremely easy to do business there. We have a very clear understanding of the market,” she added.

Shruti declined to share details about investments in the hospitality venture and its revenue goals. “We have internal goals for the short term and the long term. Most of our targets are successfully being met,” she said.

Shibulal was the last co-founder to become the CEO of Infosys and stepped down from the position last year. He and his family members hold a 1.97 per cent stake in Infosys worth around Rs 5,080 crore. His family office, Innovations Investment Management Pvt Ltd, has interests mainly in real estate and hospitality sectors. Tamara is fully backed by the family office, and Shruti said it had no plans to raise capital. “Tamara is self-sustained,” she said.

Shibulal recently joined the Tamara board as chairman. Besides Shibulal and Shruti, the board has N Mahesh and CEO Senthil Kumar N as members. Senthil Kumar also looks after the family office.

Shruti said her father looks into compliance, governance and accounting aspects at Tamara. “As a startup we have a dearth of experience. I and my company take advantage of his experience. It is much easier to gain access (with Shibulal chairing the board).”

Tamara has adopted a diversification strategy as it seeks to build a global, sustainable business, Shruti said. “We are not just luxury. We cater to a wide variety of properties. We are diversifying in terms of segments and geographies,” she said. “Our vision is to build a globally recognizable brand.”


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Shibulal eyes hotels in western Europe for acquisition

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