Chi­nese realty firms’ plans to in­vest in In­dia hit by un­cer­tainty

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Estates - - FRONT PAGE - Bidya Sa­pam & Mad­hurima Nandy bidya.s@htlive.com n

MUM­BAI/BEN­GALURU : Two years af­ter an­nounc­ing grand plans for In­dia, lead­ing Chi­nese de­vel­op­ers Coun­try Gar­den, Dalian Wand a and China For­tune Land De­vel­op­ment( C FL D) are star­ing at un­cer­tainty.

Hong Kong Stock Ex­change­listed Coun­try Gar­den, which opened sev­eral of­fices across In­dia, has cut staff by more than half, a per­son aware of the mat­ter said on con­di­tion of anonymity. Sev­eral top Chi­nese of­fi­cials have left and its Pune and Hy­der­abad of­fices have been closed, the of­fi­cial said on con­di­tion of anonymity. Prop­erty con­sul­tants said the in­abil­ity to find large projects and chal­lenges of deal­ing with lo­cal bod­ies have de­layed their plans. Be­sides, the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment re­cently curbed out bound in­vest­ments in sec­tors like real es­tate

“About a year ago, Coun­try Gar­den had nearly 300 peo­ple, in­clud­ing Chi­nese, in In­dia. Now, it is less than half. There are only bare min­i­mum peo­ple in each of its ex­ist­ing of­fices,” said the of­fi­cial cited above. Of­fices in Mum­bai, Ben­galuru and Gu­ru­gram are still op­er­a­tional.

Coun­try Gar­den was in ad­vanced talks with builders such as Wad­hwaGro up and Cen­tury Real Es­tate Hold­ings Ltd, and hade­ven signed term sheets with landown­ers and lo­cal de­vel­op­ers .“Apart from a sin­gle joint ven­ture deal in Mum­bai, none of the deals have taken off,” said a per­son fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter.

Email queries sent to Coun­try Gar­den and Wad­hwaGro up were not an­swered. Dalian Wanda, which an­nounced $10 bil­lion in­vest­ment in In­dia, and Shanghai-stock ex­change listed CFLD are yet to find their first projects in In­dia Both had made sep­a­rate agree­ments with Haryana gov­ern­ment in 2016 to build large town­ships and in­dus­trial parks.

Email queries to Wanda and CFLD re­mained unan­swered.

“It is dif­fi­cult to sign largescale projects. First land is priced high and funds don’ t come cheap in In­dia,” said Ra­jeev Tal­war, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer( CEO)DLF Ltd, which held talks with of­fi­cials of Wanda group in 2015. “It was only a fa­mil­iar­iza­tion meet­ing fa­cil­i­tated by the gov­ern­ment of In­dia. We haven’t heard any­thing from them af­ter that,” he said. Two trans­ac­tions in­volv­ing Fo­sun Group are also stuck be­cause of Chi­nese re­stric­tions. The com­pany was close to buy­ing 51% stake in Ben­galuru-based Nitesh Es­tates for ₹800 crore. It was also close to sign­ing a deal with Ahuja Con­struc­tions in Mum­bai for ₹350 cr ore .“The deal with Nitesh was al­most done. Now it seems it will take an­other two months af­ter which it should get con­cluded,” said a per­son fa­mil­iar with the de­vel­op­ment.

“The ini­tial eu­pho­ria among Chi­nese de­vel­op­ers has died down. Tight­en­ing of norms for cap­i­tal in­vest­ment by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has af­fected not just in­vest­ments in In­dia but their global ex­pan­sion plans,” said S ho b hit Agarw al, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and CEO, Ana rock Cap­i­tal. Me­dia re­ports have said that China has started tar­get­ing“ir ra­tio­nal deals” of­ten in­volv­ing ho­tels, sports clubs and cin­e­mas af­ter out­bound in­vest­ment in 2016 hit all time high of $170 bil­lion, caus­ing the value of yuan to slump and lead­ing to mas­sive cap­i­tal out­flow.

Apurva Muthalia, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Fo­sun Prop­erty Hold­ings (In­dia) and Gau­tam Ahuja, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Ahuja Con­truc­tions did not re­spond to text mes­sages and calls

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