Yatra Capital Limited, the first Euronext quoted Indian real estate company, has announced its sixth investment, following a commitment of 3.91 million in equity for a 28% holding in a joint venture, Gangetic Developers Private Limited, formed to develop a retail mall in Agra, Uttar Pradesh in North India.
Yatra has now committed 75.62 million of the initial 100 million raised in December 2006.
The 52,861.80-m2 shopping center is located in Taj Nagri Phase II on the main Fatehabad Road, about two kilometers from the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a major tourist attraction. It provides an excellent opportunity to create a destination retail center which could also significantly benefit from the over 3m Indian and international tourists who visit the Taj every year.
Yatra‟s joint venture partner is the real estate division of UP Asbestos Limited ("UPAL"), a public company which manufactures asbestos cement sheets. UPAL is also developing several other retail & hotel projects across North India.
This investment is in line with Yatra's strategy of identifying opportunities in growing Indian cities where its Board believes there is the greatest opportunity of delivering growth and subsequently shareholder value. Yatra is focusing on the retail sector as one of the key driving forces of Indian real estate. Currently, organized retail represents only about 4% of the total. However, the organized segment is expected to grow from about US$8-10 billion currently to more than US$100 billion in the next few years, with an annual growth rate of more than 34%, thereby requiring over 500 million ft² of planned retail space (as per the estimates of ICICI Property Services and KSA Technopak). Yatra‟s investment in Agra is likely to significantly benefit from this expected retail growth in India.
Commenting on the investment, Sir Nigel Broomfield, Chairman of Yatra Capital Limited, said: "This is an excellent opportunity for Yatra to deliver and enhance shareholder value. UPAL is a partner with whom we are delighted to be working, they have a significant presence in the region and are therefore more than capable of delivering a first class result." He added: "The team‟s ability to source and conclude investments in schemes of this nature has been further enhanced by the recent raising of 120 million of new funding from existing and new investors."
Ajoy Veer Kapoor, Director of Saffron Asset Advisors, added: "This is just the type of investment that Yatra seeks to make. Agra is an excellent location, our partners are of the right calibre and the scheme fits well with our strategy."