ICICI Venture Fund looking to list yield-generating assets
December 15, 2009
ICICI Venture Fund Management Company Ltd is trying to create a portfolio of yield-generating assets by repositioning old renowned building or adding new properties. It is also considering the possibility of listing these assets in the stock market. The venture fund kick-started this idea two years back by repositioning Express Towers at Nariman Point, Mumbai.
“It is a two-year old plan when we thought to reposition Express Towers. That was a boom time in the real-estate market and our goal was to create a portfolio of such good quality, yield-generating assets. We were also thinking to list these assets in the stock market. But after that the market scenario changed, it was difficult to do any kind of listing. As and when the market recovers, we will again start looking at it (the possibility of listing),” said Sanjeev Dasgupta, president for real estate, ICICI Venture Fund.
Express Towers is jointly owned by the Indian Express Group and IAF III (a fund managed by ICICI Venture). IAF III, which holds 49% stake in the group, is providing advisory services for the repositioning of Express Towers.
“We are looking at adding features such as coffee shops and a fitness centre which will give the building a much more younger and vibrant atmosphere. This will also help us to create a more tenant-friendly atmosphere. Over the past twelve months, we have redone the lobby and installed high-speed lifts,” said Mr Dasgupta.
Express Towers was built in 1970 and was designed and constructed by Joseph Allen Stein. Some of Mr Stein’s other landmark projects include the Ford Foundation Headquarters, the India Habitat Centre, the India International Centre and the Sher-i-Kashmir Conference Centre.
The Fund is in talks with some international coffee retail chain brands, but has not yet decided on its final choice. For its proposed fitness centre, it has yet to decide between tying up with a branded group or buying equipment and setting up the centre on its own.
“We will be using the lobby space (at Express Towers) for including these features,” said Mr Dasgupta.
The company believes that listing of such assets will help it get good returns from the stock market. It is also scouting for similar investments in the real-estate market to expand its portfolio, after the sector shows some signs of stabilising. “We are not in a hurry to buy. We will wait and watch for the next six months before taking any step,” said Mr Dasgupta. — Pallabika Ganguly