DLF to sell properties worth Rs 15,000 crore in various projects

India’s largest realty firm DLF plans to monetise properties worth about Rs 15,000 crore under various projects to boost its cash flow and reduce debt, a senior company official said. DLF had a net debt of Rs 20,336 crore at the end of the December quarter. “We have a total of Rs 14,000-15,000 crore stocks. Out of this, Rs 4,000 crore is in finished projects and more than Rs 10,000 crore is unsold stocks in projects which are launched and are under development,” said DLF Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Ashok Tyagi.

These stocks would get monetised as and when the demand picks up resulting in improvement in cash-flow as well as reduction of debt, he said when asked about the company’s strategy to reduce the huge debt. Stating that sales have been “low” since last year, Tyagi said bookings would comfortably cross Rs 3,000 crore in this fiscal, lower than Rs 4,070 crore in the 2013-14 financial year.

DLF has achieved sales bookings of about Rs 2,700 crore till February 15 of the current fiscal. With property market showing sluggishness, Tyagi said the company is looking to raise about Rs 3,000 crore by selling about 50 per cent stake each in 4 housing projects to private equity firms.

“Since sales are slow, we are planning to raise about Rs 3,000 crore through private equity. In the short term, PE funds will be the substitute for the cash flow which would have normally come from sales,” Tyagi said.

Tyagi said only about Rs 6,500 crore debt pertains to development arm DevCo and the same would be eventually reduced with monetisation of these Rs 15,000 crore worth stocks. On reducing of about Rs 14,000 crore debt pertaining to rental business RentCo, DLF CFO said the company plans to launch two Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) to monetise the rent-generating commercial assets. The company earns an annual rental income of over Rs 2,000 crore from its office buildings and shopping malls covering about 30 million sq ft area. Last month, DLF had reported 9 per cent decline in consolidated net profit at Rs 131.79 crore for the quarter ended December against Rs 145.29 crore in the year-ago period. Income from operations fell 5 per cent to Rs 1,956.72 crore for the third quarter of this fiscal from Rs 2,058.42 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year.

Recently, Sebi slapped fines totalling Rs 86 crore on DLF, its top executives, their family members and various other related entities for entering into “sham transactions” to mislead IPO investors about eight years ago. DLF had said that it did not violate any laws and would challenge the order.┬áThe company had also said it was guided by the advice of “eminent legal advisors, merchant bankers and audit firms” while formulating its IPO documents. DLF has a land bank of about 295 million square feet, of which 50 million square feet is under development.

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Bharti to enter Residential Realty

Bharti Realty, the real estate arm of Sunil Bharti Mittal-led Bharti Enterprises, is gearing up to enter the premium residential market in FY16. While the overall real estate sector in India has seen muted growth in recent years, high-end residential projects have been high in demand.

The Tatas and Godrej are among the other big business houses that have presence in residential real estate.

Currently, Bharti Realty has projects in the retail and commercial segments and it is looking to enter the residential market starting with Delhi-national capital region (NCR).

“Bharti Realty is scouting for land in north India, especially in Delhi-NCR, for its first residential project. It might also form joint ventures with land owners for the same,” a person close to the development told the Business Standard.

He added that the company might also look at partnership with existing developers, especially cash-strapped ones looking for funds.

When contacted, a company spokesperson declined to comment.

In August last year, S K Sayal was appointed the new managing director and CEO of Bharti Realty for “conceptualising and implementing a scalable business strategy and providing overall leadership to the business”, an earlier statement from the company had said. Sayal would also explore and seek new business opportunities via joint development models to scale the realty business to the next level of growth, the statement had added.

Apart from telecom business, Bharti group has been in the news for its retail foray along with American chain Walmart through an equal partnership in cash-and-carry or wholesale business, and more recently for parting of ways.

Bharti continues to operate its retail chain Easyday, while the cash-and-carry business is now fully owned by Walmart. The group’s other interests included insurance and agro-products, where it could not meet the success of telecom and diluted stakes in its ventures.

Aviation was another area of interest, but had not entered the sector yet. Payment bank is its latest new business venture.

In commercial real estate, Worldmark – a high-end office-cum-retail project in Delhi’s upcoming Aerocity – will be functional soon offering 1.5 million sq feet of space.

Recently, Bharti Retail had launched its first mall, The Pavilion, in Ludhiana. Till now, the firm has delivered two million sq ft of commercial space in NCR, while another 3.5 million is under construction. It is also setting up a mixed use project in Kolkata, according to information available on the company website.

Even as India’s real estate sector is going through a slowdown phase, developers are hard-pressed for funds and inventory of unsold homes is piling up. According to experts, this is the right time to enter the sector as one would get a good deal on land valuation. And if it is lucky, the company would have its product offerings ready when the market revives.

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