Sucheta Dalal :Audacious IPO by loss-making Nitesh Estates backed by investment from Times Group
Sucheta Dalal

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Audacious IPO by loss-making Nitesh Estates backed by investment from Times Group   

April 22, 2010

Nitesh Estates Ltd, a Bengaluru-based real-estate firm, hits the market on 23 April 2010. The company was looking to price its shares in the band of Rs120-Rs128 but had to cut it by more than half to Rs54-Rs56, sensing that investor response would be poor. Indeed, it is quite audacious of Nitesh Estates to even think of coming up with the IPO. For the nine months ended 31 December 2009, the company suffered a loss of Rs1.32 crore. For the financial year ended March 2009, it had a negative cash flow of Rs46.87 crore.


Interestingly, the company has made a pre-IPO placement to Brand Equity Treaties Ltd (BETL), owned by Bennett, Coleman & Company Ltd, owners of the Times Group, at Rs143 per share on 19 February 2010 for 10 lakh shares aggregating to Rs15 crore. This is the main reason one can see large advertisements by the company in various publications of the group. Under such deals—called private treaties—the Times Group takes a stake in an upcoming company in return for low-rate advertisements.

Incorporated in 2004, Nitesh Estates primarily develops residential projects in Bengaluru, despite the fact that it has expanded its operations in Chennai, Kochi, Goa and Hyderabad. As of 20 March 2010, the company’s seven ongoing projects and four forthcoming projects comprised a combined saleable area of 3.64 million sq ft, out of which 2.65 million sq ft or 72.8% was located in Bengaluru. The company is also developing a hospitality project in Bengaluru and a residential and an office project in Kochi.

As on 20 March 2010, the promoters have pledged 3.01 crore (42%) pre-issue shares to lenders under a debt agreement. The lenders can sell these shares in the open market in the event of a default and can dilute the shareholders’ stake. As of 31 December 2009, the company’s total borrowings on a consolidated basis were Rs194 crore.

According to the prospectus filed with SEBI, the proceeds of the IPO will be utilised to acquire joint development rights for the company; fund existing subsidiaries and the associate company; for repayment/prepayment of loans; redemption of debentures; finance ongoing projects and financing the acquisition of joint development rights and to repay certain loans of the company.

ICICI Securities Ltd, Enam Securities Private Ltd, Kotak Mahindra Capital Company Ltd and JM Financial Consultants Pvt Ltd are the lead book-running managers to the issue.

The company plans to mop up Rs450 crore from the issue with a 100% book-building issue. The price band has been fixed at Rs54-Rs56 per share. The issue opens for subscription on 23 April 2010 and closes on 27 April 2010. Credit ratings agency CRISIL has assigned an ‘IPO Grade 2’ to the IPO, indicating ‘poor fundamentals’.  — Moneylife Digital Team

-- Sucheta Dalal