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Indian property trust poised to launch $1.7b IPO in S’pore

INDIA’S fourth-largest realty company by market value is going ahead with its plan to launch a potentially huge initial public offering (IPO) for its Indiabulls Properties Investment Trust in Singapore.

Reports in India suggest that the IPO by Indiabulls Real Estate Ltd could be worth a whopping US$1.2 billion (S$1.7 billion), which would make it the biggest IPO in the Republic in years.

Thai Beverage, the brewer of Chang beer, which raised $1.37 billion in 2006, was the largest IPO in the Republic since SingTel’s in 1993.

The Indiabulls real estate investment trust (Reit) would own property in the booming commercial centre Mumbai.

The company said on Tuesday that the Singapore Exchange (SGX) has granted its property trust an ‘eligibility to list’ status for the mainboard.

India’s developers are keen to expand via a Singapore listing into the Reits business, which is not yet allowed in their home country.

Indiabulls’ plan comes not long after India’s largest and second-biggest property developers – DLF and Unitech – announced plans for Reits in Singapore. The former is reportedly planning an even bigger US$1.5 billion IPO.

Those numbers would probably make them the largest IPOs since SingTel made its debut back in 1993, raising $4 billion. Still, there were earlier concerns that the Indian listings may be delayed due to the fallout from the United States sub-prime crisis.

A report in India’s The Business Standard newspaper quoted Indiabulls Group president for corporate affairs Ajith Mittal as saying that the IPO would hit the market by the middle of next month, and that market sources expect Indiabulls to make a total offer of nearly US$1.2 billion.

The trust will acquire One Indiabulls Centre in Mumbai and Elphinstone Mills, which are developed and owned by Indiabulls Properties and Indiabulls Real Estate Co, respectively. The two properties are held by Indiabulls Real Estate Ltd through investments in those two latter firms.

Indiabulls Real Estate Ltd will offload a 14 per cent stake in the two projects – out of a 40 per cent stake – via the IPO and mop up nearly US$250 million, said the report. The two properties are valued at over US$2.2 billion.

‘We are planning to lodge the final documents two weeks from now and hit the market in March,’ said Mr Mittal in the report. ‘The total offering will depend on the call taken by other investors and market volatility.’

The report said US hedge fund Farallon Capital and Dev Property Developer are 60 per cent stakeholders in the two projects. The latter is listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market.

One Indiabulls Centre in the Parel area of Mumbai has 1.5 million sq ft of commercial space and half a million sq ft of retail space. It is part of the emerging new business centre of Central Mumbai.

Elphinstone Mill is being built in Lower Parel and will have 1.5 million sq ft of leasable office space, according to the Indiabulls website.

According to estimates, Indian real estate developers may raise nearly $20 billion from the SGX in the next two years, said the report.


Source: The Straits Times 7 Feb 08

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