JLL India Facilitates Sale of 50% Stake in Westend Mall, Pune

In its latest landmark deal, leading international property consultancy JLL India has facilitated the sale of 50% stake in Westend Mall in Aundh, Pune to US-based private equity player Blackstone Group.

Post-acquisition of retail malls in Ahmedabad, Amritsar and Navi Mumbai last year, this is the fourth acquisition by the PE giant. Globally, Blackstone is the largest real estate private equity firm in the world today with $102 billion of assets under management.

Sanjay Bajaj, Managing Director – Pune, JLL India said, “Westend is the largest integrated mixed-use development in the micro-market of Aundh and Baner, which houses some of the top IT companies and an abundant residential catchment in the vicinity. The Westend Mall, a part of the development, is the largest operational retail mall in west Pune, with marquee brands such as H&M, Shoppers Stop, Cinepolis with IMAX, Max, Starbucks, etc. In addition to the mall, the development also houses top-notch IT companies like Convergys, Sungard, OneNetwork, etc.”

As a location, Aundh has long since established itself a priority port of call for IT firms, and has developed a consummate social infrastructure ethos around it. IT-centric office spaces in this location are in great demand not only because of the presence of high-end shopping outlets and restaurants but its excellent connectivity to central Pune as well as Mumbai via the Expressway.

Because of the dense saturation of IT companies in the vicinity which includes Hinjewadi, there are approximately 0.5 million people working in this micro-market, thereby, making it a strong case for entertainment and retail.

Against the backdrop of several question marks being raised on the impact of various potential disruptive changes in the real estate sector, this deal underscores the fact that institutional investors are still wired into relevant big-ticket opportunities.

This major development into West Pune is also significant because this region has so far been seriously under-served in terms of quality retail developments. By harnessing the demand for Grade A real estate developments in the city, Blackstone has once again evidenced that it has a firm finger on the pulse of the Indian growth story.

Source: News

To Keep House Prices In Check, Construct More Roads

“It is not wealth that built our roads but roads that built our wealth.” This line by former American president John F Kennedy holds true not only for the US but also India. Road infrastructure seems to be closely linked to residential price movements. Length of road construction is known to have a direct bearing on real estate. More importantly, it is equally vital in potentially lowering average house prices, particularly in urban areas, as can be seen in the graph below.

Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, JLL India

Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, JLL India


As road lengths increase, connectivity improves across a wider geography – thereby attracting new project launches at lower price points. This can reduce prices in urban agglomerations. If more roads are constructed in rural areas, price rise in urban cities could be restricted to moderate levels. This would help increase affordable housing projects near the metros.

Currently, the only solution to the problem of urban housing shortage in Indian cities is building new infrastructure to connect more precincts to the city centre. This theory becomes clearer when we compare the pan-India average residential price growth to the total length of road constructed in India annually which is released by the Ministry of Roads.

Not surprisingly, there was a strong inverse correlation between the two indicators. It suggests that when new roads are constructed across rural and urban areas, the spread of development happens over a wider geography. This can potentially bring down the premium that certain urban agglomerations command for having better connectivity. This could be particularly true for infrastructure-starved cities in India such as Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Fortunately, road infrastructure has emerged as a key focus area for the current government. According to media reports earlier this year, the road transport and highways ministry has set an ambitious target of laying more than 40 km of roads every day in 2016-17 – more than double the current pace. The construction target too has been set at 15,000 km against the 6,000 km constructed last year.

The Indian government plans to invest INR 3 trillion (US$ 44.73 billion) for developing 35,000 km of roads across the country, of which 21,000 km will be economic corridors and 14,000 km will be feeder routes. This is expected to improve freight movement, ease traffic bottlenecks and improve inter-city connectivity in the country. It will be interesting to watch residential property price movements in the coming years.

Source: News

Demonetization: Immediate And Long-Term Impact On Real Estate

PM Modi’s surprise move to remove Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes from legal use came as a shocker to all Indians. As of now, everyone is still inconvenienced, but all Indians also realize the greater good this move will accomplish in cleaning out black money from the economy. Crowds outside ATMs are already thinning out and life is gradually normalizing across Indian cities. However, the ones who will continue to be affected the most are obviously those who have been holding and transacting in large amounts of unaccounted cash.

Kishor Pate, CMD - Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

When considering the business sectors on which the demonetization move has greatest pertinence and effect, the real estate sector comes almost naturally to mind, and Indian real estate industry has historically seen a high incidence of cash transactions. However, the large-scale turmoil that many market pundits have been predicting is an exaggeration. The market is expecting a correction in the resale properties segment, which is very likely to happen.

However, the primary sales market in the larger cities is not going to be affected, especially when it comes to strong, established developers. Prices have already stabilized in view of the situation prevailing prior to the demonetization move, and there is minimum chance of further correction – especially in low-end projects. High-end and luxury projects may see a correction to some extent.

Land transactions, which have historically been driven by cash, are taking a major hit and we can expect a correction of 20-30% in land valuations in the unorganized sector. Lower land costs in emerging areas and smaller cities will eventually result in lower cost of budget housing, as developers will assuredly pass on the benefit of these savings to their customers. Pricing is a critical factor in the current market environment, and no player will lose the chance to offer more benevolent price tags in order to secure business.

The full impact of demonetization will be more visible only after the next Union Budget is announced in February. The negative sentiment currently prevailing is likely to be negated to a large extent by some very positive announcements. We expect the Finance Minister to roll out special incentives for first-time home buyers in the budget properties category, and also a positive revision of income tax slabs – which will help reduce the financial burden on home buyers and increase purchasing power.

With home ownership always being a priority investment objective for all Indians, this will have very positive implications for the residential real estate sector.

On the whole, the demonetization move is very good news for the health of the Indian real estate sector. The Real Estate Regulatory Bill (RERA) will be deployed across the country by mid-2017, and Maharashtra has recently put forth its own draft laws. Along with the impact that the demonetization move has had on India’s parallel ‘black economy’, we will see a lot of sanitization in the industry.

The Indian real estate sector will now become more transparent, credible and attractive to all kinds of serious investors, especially institutional investors. In the long term, we will see a much more holistic and healthy pattern of growth in the Indian real estate sector. The Government’s many initiatives to render the Indian business environment more attractive for both domestic and foreign investments will definitely bear fruit.

For end-users and investors, the current time is extremely favourable to make their move to secure the best real estate bargains. Smaller residential developers and investors will be more eager than ever before to offload their inventory so as to alleviate their liquidity woes to some extent. The salaried class which uses home loans to purchase properties will not face any problems at all because of the demonetization move.

Since the above measures will serve to make the real estate sector more transparent and wholesome, future growth in the residential property sector will be steady and rational. Those who invest in residential real estate now can, therefore, look forward to very satisfactory long-term capital appreciation.

Also, to be noted – the slowdown induced by the demonetization move has nothing to do with the huge pent-up demand for housing in India. This is still very much intact and in fact growing at steady pace. The residential sector was in fact in revival mode shortly before this move, and though overall sentiment has now faced a new setback, this is strictly temporary. Fly-by-night developers get driven out and large players who have already made transparent transactions a standard will emerge stronger. Within the next 12-18 months, we will see a much more sustainable and robust real estate market emerging in India.

Source: News

Viptela Raises $75M for Global Expansion

Leader in $6B SD-WAN Market to Scale Sales and Marketing, Support and R&D to Meet Aggressive Customer Demand

Viptela, the Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) company, today announced that it has raised $75M in a Series C round of financing to meet global demand for its Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) platform. The round brings the company’s total funding to nearly $110M, and was led by Redline Capital with participation from new investor Northgate Capital and existing investor Sequoia Capital.

According to industry research firm IDC, the increasing use of cloud applications by businesses and the trend of employees accessing them via mobile devices is fueling innovation in wide area networking technologies. Its analysts estimate that worldwide SD-WAN revenues will exceed $6 billion in 2020 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 90% over the 2015-2020 forecast period.

Amir Khan - CEO at Viptela

Amir Khan – CEO at Viptela

“Our ability to raise this level of financing, while many technology vendors are struggling to raise capital or experiencing ‘down rounds’ is a testament to our team, technology and execution,” said Amir Khan, CEO of Viptela. “These funds will enable us to add the resources to expand into new geographies, extend our lead in this hyper-growth sector and capture a lion’s share of the market.”

As part of the financing, Tatiana Evtushenkova, Director of Redline Capital has joined the Viptela Board of Directors. The company will use the proceeds to scale sales, marketing, technical support and research & development to meet aggressive customer demand for its products and execute its global go-to-market strategy.

“Viptela already has a solid list of blue-chip, Fortune 500 customers and partnerships with Verizon and Singtel who are using their platform to deliver managed SD-WAN services to businesses,” said Tatiana Evtushenkova. “The company is extremely well-positioned to become a dominant player in a $6B market. We’re pleased to be working with management to help them capitalize on this massive opportunity.”

Large and mid-sized organizations typically have tens, hundreds and even thousands of sites, including offices, branches, ATMs, retail locations, etc., around the country and the world which they need to connect over their WAN. The Viptela platform allows enterprises to reduce WAN costs by 50% by augmenting expensive leased lines with cheaper public broadband connections, adding more bandwidth on-demand and optimizing network performance so cloud applications respond as if they were located in the company’s own data center.

The Viptela SD-WAN platform has already been implemented by more than 25 Fortune 500 enterprises including some of the world’s largest retailers, financial institutions, conglomerates, healthcare organizations and other businesses that have many geographically distributed locations. The company has licensing partnerships with Tier-1 carriers Verizon and Singtel; and has been recognized as a Gartner Cool Vendor and a Next Billion Dollar Startup by Forbes.


Source: News

Hotstar and Akamai Announce Renewal of Partnership in India to Scale for Live Sports Events

Hotstar, India’s largest premium video streaming platform and Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM), a global leader in content delivery network (CDN) services, today announced the renewal of their partnership to support Hotstar in delivering live sports content and the expected surge in viewership with the help of Akamai’s Intelligent Platform.

Since its launch in February 2015, Hotstar has seen a dramatic growth in viewership on the back of 65 million downloads and a content portfolio that covers local and international drama, movies and sports. Live sports in particular has seen a huge surge in viewership on Hotstar, especially as audiences turn to mobile as the primary screen for cricket updates and streaming. The partnership between Hotstar and Akamai plans for an expected surge in viewership over the next 18 months, especially in light of the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 tournament in India, which saw a peak of 1.55 million concurrent video streams, and an average concurrency close to 350,000. The peak traffic for this event almost doubled from 655 Gbps in 2015 to 1.3 Tbps this year, highlighting the growing demand for live streaming online, across devices.

Star, a customer of Akamai since 2006, and Hotstar, an Akamai customer since its launch in February 2015, delivered more than 23 million hours of live sporting video over the course of the T20 World Cup, with the help of Akamai’s Media Delivery Solutions. The two companies are currently working to deliver the 2016 season of the Indian Premier League, which has also seen a surge in viewership over the last 2 years.

“The Internet has become an important source for accessing global sporting events, and Akamai has consistently helped deliver events of scale around the world. Hotstar is a valued partner for Akamai and one that is consistently setting new benchmarks in video streaming and live sports consumption in particular. We are extremely proud of this successful partnership,” said Parimal Pandya, Vice President, Media, APJ, Akamai Technologies.

“Since the launch of Hotstar in February 2015, we have seen a 10x increase in online viewership for sporting events. Planning for concurrency in live sports is a big part of delivering an outstanding uninterrupted experience for our users and Akamai has been an instrumental partner in helping us scale numbers that are very rarely seen online globally,” said Ajit Mohan, CEO, Hotstar.

As Hotstar continues to develop and bring to market world class events, including movie premieres and live sports such as the ongoing Indian Premier League and the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, the two companies are working together to introduce new features and innovations on the video streaming front.

Source: News

Dr. Raghuram Rajan visits entrepreneurial dairy company Milk Mantra

RBI Governor, Dr. Raghuram Rajan visited Milk Mantra’s plant in Gop. On a scheduled visit to the state, the Governor expressed an interest to visit an entrepreneurial venture and meet the entrepreneur who started it as well as interact with the farmer community to understand the impact on their lives Milk Mantra has made.

Dr. Rajan spent time understanding how Milk Mantra was started, its growth and the impact on the ecosystem. He then saw the state of the art plant and was shown how Truly Pure milk was processed, packed and stored till dispatch. The team explained how processing of value added products was done and the innovation in packaging and processing technology done by Milk Mantra.

Dr. Rajan also spoke at length with Milk Mantra farmers to know how their individual and societal economy started to change after becoming stakeholders in Milk Mantra’s sourcing chain. Dr. Rajan listened intently to the farmer stories of how after they joined the Milk Mantra family they had payments made to them at the right time, better access to loans to buy more cows, insurance for the cows etc.


Dr. Raghuram Rajan commended the work done by Milk Mantra’s young team. He said, “By taking an everyday commodity product like milk, they have created an ecosystem for farmers to have better livelihood, and for public to have quality nutrition and enhanced health.”

Srikumar Misra, Founder & CEO Milk Mantra said, “The financial inclusion and impact that Milk Mantra is creating through a completely product led business model needs policy framework support at various levels and it’s an honor that Dr. Raghuram Rajan visited us and listensed to our story and the challenges we face. Our team was highly inspired and motivated by Dr. Rajan’s visit.”

Milk Mantra is India’s first VC funded agri based startup, located in Odisha. It has launched two innovative brands – Milky Moo range of dairy products, and MooShake, functional ready-to-drink healthy milk beverage. They have 2 state-of-the art plants, one in Gop and one in Sambalpur. They have recently commissioned a 3rd plant to increase their capacity owing to the increasing consumer demands.

Source: News

PCMC’s Integrated Townships – Redefining Traditional Luxury

Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

Anil Pharande, Chairman – Pharande Spaces

Indian luxury real estate is in rapid evolutionary mode, and few of the previously accepted definitions of a luxury home have stood the test of time. For luxury home developers, the challenge has shifted from offering a number of attractive add-ons to providing a well-rounded residential experience that transcends luxurious exteriors, interiors and amenities.

Luxury townships are the obvious answer to the questions today’s buyers are asking. They are not looking for mere glamour – because of the mounting challenges of urban life in cities like Pune, they are also looking for superior infrastructure, cutting-edge security and project management and a walk-to-work option. These are obviously not an option in standalone luxury buildings – nothing less than a fully integrated luxury township can provide such advantages.

A number of Indian developers who previously specialized in traditional luxury residential projects – one or two snazzy buildings in a tony part of town where ‘address value’ accounts for a massive price premium – have therefore shifted their focus to the township format. This is because luxury living in today’s context is a 360-degree lifestyle equation which cannot be limited to elegant superficialities.

The buyer profile for integrated luxury townships is also different today. These are not HNIs hailing from families with protracted histories of wealth – they are young, self-made entrepreneurs, the corporate upper management cadre and high-placed Information Technology professionals.

This new breed of luxury home buyers is not swayed by impressive addresses and the other factors which dictated how luxury was interpreted in the past. They are looking for the aspects that spell genuine luxury today – convenience, safety, reliable utilities supply, modern recreational facilities, on-the-spot availability to essential services like hospitals, schools and shopping, and good internal and external connectivity.

They will not spend their hard-earned money on an expensive location but invest in a superior living experience for themselves and their families. Moreover, the traditional CBDs of cities like Pune are no longer the areas which yield the most lucrative jobs – the IT and manufacturing hubs in modern satellite cities like the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) are the next employment hotbeds which are driving both the demand and trend for high-end homes.

This luxury home buyer demographic is highly tech-savvy and environmentally conscious, and attributes a lot of value to ‘smart’ and ‘green’ features – not only at a residence level but at a project level. Again, this is only possible in integrated townships, and this is what has spurred the growth of PCMC’s ultra-modern townships over the last decade.

These townships offer their residents:

  • Broad, well-lit internal roads
  • 24×7 water and electricity supply
  • Multiple user parking per unit
  • Multi-level security
  • Green open spaces
  • Conveniences such as shopping malls, banks, schools and hospitals within the project
  • Easy connectivity to other parts of the city
  • Modern recreational facilities

The best integrated townships also include high-grade commercial spaces and give residents the ultimate luxury – the walk-to-work option. Obviously, this new definition of luxury living provides a stark contrast to the traditional concepts of luxury homes, which was usually tied to a vanity address in an exorbitantly pricey location. Though older luxury buildings in the core areas of cities like Pune are invariably redeveloped into luxury skyscrapers, there is nothing that can be done about the fact that the locations themselves are cramped, polluted, devoid of support infrastructure and often hemmed in by slums and tenements.

While the window view from a luxury home in such a setting is usually one of chaos and urban decay, the corresponding view from a home in an integrated township is one of greenery, orderliness and unpolluted air. No wonder, then, that the younger and smarter generation of luxury home buyers today prefers the benefits of contemporary luxury far away from such areas. Integrated townships are their obvious choice.

Source: News

JLL India Adjudged ‘Best Property Consultancy’ at International Property Awards Asia Pacific 2016

JLL scooped a total of 15 awards at the 2016 International Property Awards Asia Pacific held in Kuala Lumpur on 8 April. Of these, six were five-star ratings for Best Property Consultancy in China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea.

JLL Logo
Commenting on JLL India capturing the coveted ‘Best Property Consultancy’ award, Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, JLL India said, “We easily outpaced the competition from other IPCs in winning this award, which follows the most stringent selection guidelines in the industry. In fact, awards have been rolling in – JLL India was also adjudged ‘Property Consultant of the Decade’ at the 10th edition of the prestigious CNBC-Awaaz Real Estate Awards, and the ‘Best FM Service Provider’ at the recently conducted Clean & Green India 2016 Awards.”

Receiving 15 awards in Asia Pacific, including six in the five-star category, is a great achievement and testament to the great work our teams across the region do day in, day out,” says Alastair Hughes, CEO, JLL Asia Pacific. “It’s a real pleasure to be recognised among the best in the industry for delivering top class service to our clients, something that is at the heart of everything we do as a company.”

The annual Asia Pacific awards event brings together the top players in real estate, architecture and interior design from 25 countries and covers both commercial and residential categories. Now in their 24th year, they are the region’s largest, most prestigious, and widely recognised awards programme.

Entries are judged by an independent panel of 70 industry experts, who focus on design, quality, service, innovation, originality, and commitment to sustainability.

JLL Five-Star Awards 2016

  • Best Property Consultancy China
  • Best Property Consultancy Hong Kong
  • Best Property Consultancy India
  • Best Property Consultancy Indonesia
  • Best Property Consultancy Japan
  • Best Property Consultancy Korea

Source: News