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Raymond sells 20 acre plot to real estate firm VRSA for Rs 700 crore
Business Standard  |  October 10, 2019

Pavan Lall & Raghavendra Kamath Mumbai

Raymond on Wednesday said it had sold a 20-acre holding in Thane on the outskirts of Mumbai to Virtuous Retail South Asia (VRSA) for Rs 700 crore. The Singapore-based mall-development company confirmed the deal and said it would invest another Rs 1,700 crore to develop a shopping mall on the land parcel.

 

This is one of the largest deals this year in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). VRSA is a joint venture of global private equity fund Xander and Dutch pension fund APG.

 

JK Investo Trade, an associate company of the textile major, executed the deal for the land parcel in Thane (West), which is adjacent to Raymond’s other realty projects. Enthused by the news of the deal the Gautam Singhania-led company’s stock went up over 10 per cent to close the day at Rs 601.85 per share.

 

 “The objective has been to deleverage the balance sheet and reduce debt, which is around Rs 2,500 crore at the group level,” said Raymond Chief Financial Officer Sanjay Bahl.

 

Realty sector experts said the rate of Rs 35 crore per acre was a good one for Raymond.

 

Gulam Zia, executive director with property manager Knight Frank India, said there was huge retail and office inventory in Thane and adjoining areas and the market was still maturing.

 

Recently, Mumbai-based Oberoi Realty bought 60 acres in a nearby location for Rs 890 crore or Rs 14.8 crore per acre. But, Raymond’s land parcel was at a much better location, Zia said.

 

VRSA said it would build a 3.7 million square foot mixed-use project, anchored by a 2.4 milllion sq ft Virtuous Retail project.

 

Sid Yog, founder and chairman, VRSA, said, “Prime land parcels of this size are seldom traded, especially in major metropolitan markets such as Mumbai. We have been waiting patiently for the ideal opportunity to expand our award-winning portfolio into the Mumbai region, and are delighted to finally embark on the development of a VR flagship center in the city.”

 

Earlier this year, Raymond announced it would venture into the realty industry to monetise its land bank, which lies in a separate plot near Pokhran Road. Raymond’s new venture, Raymond Realty, is set to build 3,000 two-bedroom housing units on 14 acres in the first phase of the project. This will take five years to be completed.

 

Executives of the company said it had already sold 650 apartments priced between Rs 1.25 crore and Rs 1.5 crore, of the total of 990 units in three towers that have been launched. Raymond still has 120 acres in Thane.

 

VRSA develops and manages community-oriented retail and lifestyle centers across India and has, over the past 12 years, delivered centers that integrate shopping, dining, hospitality, leisure, and entertainment, including current flagships — VR Chennai, VR Bengaluru, VR Punjab, and VR Surat. VRSA has a portfolio of 11 million sq ft.