Indian Hotels looks to sell ten properties to pare debt issues
THE GROWTH CORRIDORS FOR SENIOR LIVING
Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. This geographic distribution was, paradoxically, largely because of outward migration.
Countless educated professionals from these states gravitated to the West for better job opportunities and preferred to settle there if possible. Their parents wereleft behind, whichgave rise to the concept of retirement homes in these states. The concept thereafter spread to other states and cities as well, with both few big and small builders entering this segment.
Kerala has a particularly high number of ageing citizens who will live a lot longer, thanks largely to the excellent healthcare facilities and NRI-originating wealth to payfor it. Asperthe Ministry of Statistics, the percentage of elderly population in Kerala is nearly 12.6% of the state’s total population, the highest in the country. This caused Kerala to become home to a high density of senior living projects.
Senior living is also seen as a growing trend in cities such as Coimbatore, Puducherry, Goa and Dehradun, which have traditionally been retirement cities. Moreover, since most cities are saturated, the peripheries of most large cities are also attracting such projects because of the less cluttered and more salubrious surroundings suitable for a retired lifestyle, as well as the availability of large tracts of land which can accommodate fullstack senior living projects with all the bells and whistles.
Most of the existing and planned senior living projects are essentially located in the satellite towns of major metros like Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai and Delhi, and non-metros including Kochi, Jaipur, Bhopal, Coimbatore, Rishikesh and Goa.
In terms of costs, there is slight variation in the overall cost structure, size ranges and other add-on costs from city to city. Prices largely depend on several parameters including the location of the project and builder type. MUMBAI: Indian Hotels Co. Ltd, which runs Taj hotels, plans to monetize around10 properties in the next three years as part of a larger plan to bring downits debt and fund its future growth, said a top executive. The Tata Group firm aims to reduce its consolidated debt by 30% in the next 18 months, mainly through asset monetization, Puneet Chhatwal, managing director and chief executive officer said in an interview.
As of 30 September, Indian Hotels’s net debt stood at ₹2,082 crore. In the second quarter ended 30 September, the company’s net loss significantly narrowed to ₹5 crore from ₹59.95 crore in the year-ago period.
Its total income saw a 13.5% growth to ₹981 crore from ₹864.18 crore in the corresponding quarter previous fiscal.
Chhatwal attributed the growth to its focus on asset management and cost optimization.
“At the moment, we are looking at monetizing around 10 properties. If we can do twothree per annum, then we are on a good track,” Chhatwal said, adding that Indian Hotels would aim to retain a few of these through management contracts.
The properties for sale would span across all brands, including The Gateway, Vivanta and Ginger located primarily in the secondary and tertiary markets. In October, Oriental Hotels, an associate of Indian Hotels, sold Gateway Hotel Beach at Visakapatnam to Varun Group, a diversified business enterprise, for an undisclosed sum. How- ever, Indian Hotels retained management of the hotel.
Chhatwal said the asset sale is also part of the company’s strategy to own 50% of properties while retaining the rest through management contracts with the property owners. At present, Indian Hotels owns around 70% of the hotel assets it operates in India and abroad.
“We just don’t want to sell (the hotel assets) at any price. Not just in terms of the amount you get for the property but also the contract you get in return. It should be a long-term contract with the right partner,” he said.
The company plans to increase its portfolio of management contract, but would continue to look at opportunities to invest at the right property. For instance, Indian Hotels is investing around ₹80 crore to renovate The Connaught hotel, an 85-room, four-star hotel property on Janpath Lane in central Delhi.
The property would be introduced as part of its yet to be launched boutique hotel brand Seleqtion. In September, Indian Hotels finally retained The Taj Mahal Hotel on Mansingh Road in New Delhi after years of court battle with the NewDelhiMunicipal Council, the owner of the asset.
In line with its five-year strategy, Aspiration 2022, IHCL signed 15 new hotels across brands in the last one year in both domestic and international business.
Chhatwal said it will continue to look for opportunities to expand its business in key international markets such as the US and the UK.
The senior living sector in India is still at a nascent stage