Realty projects, roads focus to help build-up for Unity Infraprojects

Healthy order book, strong balance sheet and the potential to unlock value from real estate projects make Unity Infraprojects a decent investment idea on a medium-term basis. Mumbai-based Unity Infraprojects is a small-sized construction firm operating in buildings, water and roads segments. The company is also developing real estate on its land parcels in Nagpur, Bangalore, Pune, Kolkata and Goa. The total saleable area from these projects is nearly nine million square feet.

Unity Infraprojects stands to gain by unlocking the value in its real estate projects. It was not able to monetise any of its real estate projects due to delays in execution by over a year. However, it is now in an advanced stage of securing approvals for launching its Bangalore residential project. Unity has a total saleable area of nearly 3 million square feet in this project, which it intends to launch in another three months.

After this it will focus on monetising its real estate in other cities. The current order book of the company in its construction business stands at Rs 4,700 crore, which are 2.75 times its FY11 revenues. These orders are to be executed over the next three years. The company has been increasing its exposure to the roads segment in the last few years. Although the roads segment is highly competitive, Unity’s backward integration in terms of owns machinery has allowed the company to garner better operating margins than its peers.

In the nine months ending December 2011, the company has maintained an operating margin of 15.5%. Another factor that augurs well for the company is its strong balance sheet. As of September 2011, the company had a debt-equity ratio of 1.1, which is one of the best among its peers. Unity Infraprojects’ stock is trading at a P/E of 3.9 while similar-sized rivals like Pratibha Industries and Supreme Infrastructure India are trading at a P/E of 5.9 and 5.2, respectively. Considering its growth potential and the relative discount to its peers, the stock looks attractive at this level.


“India is a top focus for Realty Moghul” says Trump Scion.

Trump’s eponymous real estate group expects to sign multiple deals for Indian residential projects and hotel contracts over the next five years, despite a market riddled by regulatory uncertainty and bureaucratic red tape.

“India, among other emerging markets, is the biggest push for our organisation,” Donald Trump Jr, an executive vice president of The Trump Organization, said on Wednesday.

Trump, whose portfolio includes projects in South Korea and Turkey, in addition to hotels and skyscrapers in the United States, is close to signing a couple of deals with Indian developers, the younger Trump said without providing details.

“Equity investment will depend on individual projects and partnerships but first we would like to form relationships which allow us to understand the processes and spectrum better,” the 34-year-old said on the side-lines of a hotel conference.

The developer entered India last year with a joint venture partnership with Rohan Lifescapes to build a 45-storey luxury residential tower in Mumbai.

However, work on the tower, which will bear the Trump name but involves no equity from the U.S. developer, has been halted for about nine months since authorities said it lacked the necessary permits, a common problem in an industry wrapped in red tape.

Indian developers are often hit by changing regulations. In Mumbai, for example, the scrapping of a rule granting extra floor space in exchange for providing public parking facilities has meant many projects must reapply for clearances.

But Trump, whose father is worth an estimated $2.9 billion, according to Forbes, says the lure of an emerging India outweighs the regulatory headaches.

“The Indian market is starved for a good luxury product and it needs a brand like ours,” he said.

“I like the regulatory changes I am seeing. It may slow things down a bit but will create a level playing field and will help in eliminating the unknown for an outside investor coming in,” he said.

The company plans to focus expansion in the country on luxury residences and hotels, and would look at cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and the state of Goa.

Some local players such as privately held Lodha Developers and Godrej Properties are emerging as strong brands in India’s luxury housing space, but the market remains fragmented.

And despite a slew of interest rate hikes that have cooled India’s overall property market and hit luxury developers particularly hard, Trump is bullish.

 

India loses $210 billion in Coal Scandal.

The Indian Parliament erupted in hoots and jeers Thursday after a draft report by government auditors estimated that the national treasury lost $210 billion by selling coal fields to private excavation companies in sweetheart deals.

According to the report, leaked to the Times of India newspaper, the primary beneficiaries were about 100 private and state companies that were handed contracts for 155 coal fields between 2004 and 2009 without going through a competitive bidding process. The report said that $210 billion — five times India’s annual defence budget — was a conservative estimate given that it relied on prices for low-grade rather than medium-grade coal.

The report represents the latest in a string of corruption scandals to hit the ruling Congress Party — others have involved the telecommunications, real estate and sports industries — that has left India’s leadership weak and bereft of policy initiatives. Opposition leaders called the latest revelation the “mother of all scams,” accusing the government of looting the country.

But auditors with the comptroller/auditor general’s office countered that the leaked draft is misleading, adding in a letter to the prime minister’s office that the figures publicized were the product of discussions held at a “very preliminary stage.

“We are examining the news report and I have called for records,” Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told journalists, adding that he wasn’t in office at the time of the suspect deals. “After that I will reply.”

The government said it has not received the report yet from comptroller/auditor general’s office.

India, the world’s third-largest coal producer after China and the United States, has seen a series of mining scandals. In August, the top elected official in south western Karnataka state resigned after being implicated in a mining scandal that a watchdog said involved $400 million. Three months later, a report claimed that almost 50% of the iron ore exported from western Goa state was illegally mined.

India is hungry for energy to fuel its fast-growing economy, and coal accounts for 70% of the mix, a percentage expected to grow, given limitations on the further development of power from nuclear reactors and renewable sources. Environmentalists, however, say increased production is ecologically unsustainable.

Indian developers will present properties to NRI investors at Doha exhibition.

Indian developers are all geared up to offer NRI investors a wide choice of properties across India at an exhibition which is going to start on 16th March 2012.

It is the 20th India Property Exhibition in Doha on Friday which will showcase more than 100 projects spread across New Delhi, the National Capital Region, Jaipur, Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Hyderabad and several other cities.

The $12 billion realty market in India is on a high growth curve, because of the fast growing economy, increased participation of global players in the Indian market and new technological innovations.

According to organisers – Indus Fairs and Events (India) and Apex Business Solutions, Doha – the investment portfolio includes apartments, independent houses, bungalows, luxury villas, farmhouses, commercial properties, beach resorts and plots.

LIC Housing to Concentrate on Senior Citizen Homes Business

LIC Housing Finance focuses to have a all India-presence for its senior citizens homes business as the rise in demand from senior citizens provokes the company to scale-up presence in other cities across the country. The 4th largest mortgage lender has finished two projects, one in Bangalore and the other in Bhubaneswar, They believe this “futuristic idea” will lead to the home finance company eventually spinning off its care home business into a listed body as early as 2014.

“We expect to make the care homes business a fully listed body in coming three to five years,” CEO of LIC Housing finance said. LIC H.F., promoted by the country’s largest insurer, the LIC of India, is looking for an existence in up to 07 cities, which it says are more “friendly to the senior citizens” and also can get land at discounted rates. The company lately finished a 98-unit project and a bigger 200-unit project in Bangalore and Bhubaneswar respectivly.

Presently the organisation is in the process of acquiring land in Jaipur, Haridwar and Goa. “More cities such as Nagpur and Pune which have historically been friendly to the retired people will be looked at.” India has 65 % of its people aged between 15 and 64 years, so the business model might find many takers. Retirement homes are built in a community format with modern amenities including gymnasium & club houses, music rooms and auditoriums. These projects also come with a house-help which is offered by the developers or owners themselves.

13th India Realty Expo’10 A Success

The India Realty Expo 2010 organized by the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI) in Dubai was a great success. It was the 13th year of the realty expo and 9th consecutive year of the expo in Dubai. The exhibition held from June 3, 2010 to June 5, 2010 saw a presence of total 2847 NRI’s. The event’s success can be contributed to the fact that the exhibitors were offering ready properties or possessions between 3-6 months.

The Exhibition was inaugurated by his Excellency Mr. Naresh Mehta, Consul Commerce of India, Consulate General of India, Dubai-U.A.E on June 3, 2010.

Eighteen leading developers and builders from India including Acme Housing (India) Pvt Ltd., Akar Creations Pvt ltd., Ashiana, Delta Group, Everest Developers, Godrej Properties Ltd, Hiranandani Constructions Pvt Ltd, Kolte-Patil Developers Ltd, Marvel Realtors, Nahar Group, Nyati Group, Our Town, Pathy Housing, Runwal Group, Rustomjee, Uma Constructions- represented by United 4 realtors participated in the exhibition.

Indian_Consulate_03_07_2010-36
Photo by vasofoto.com
Mr. Sunit Mantra, President MCHI said on the occasion, “Looking at the factors such as attractive prices of Indian Real Estate as compared to Dubai coupled with a lackluster trend in local markets there, turned out a bonanza for the Indian realtors exhibiting their properties in the Dubai exhibition with investors and genuine buyers visiting in large number this year.”
The Hon. Secretary, MCHI, Mr. Deepak Goradia said, “We have seen tremendous response and turnout for the exhibition this time. Projects in Andheri, Powai, Navi Mumbai, Kandivali, Borivali, Bandra, Ghatkopar, Thane from Mumbai and other cities such as Bangalore, Goa and Pune received a lot of enquires for residential flats. Quality of visitors was good and mostly they were affluent, focused and high end consumers. Moreover visitors showed interest in 2/3 BHK flats ranging from 60 lacs to 1 cr.”

The Indian Real Estate Industry has only reasons to cheer in the time to come.

The Indian Hospitality Industry-An overview

Indian hospitality industry has emerged as a hotspot destination for investment for the global hospitality companies in the last few years. Many leading global hotel chains aim to enter India in the near future and the ones that are already present in the country as of now are eager to expand. The companies are betting big on dearth of hotel rooms in the nation.

ATTARD - Hôtel Corinthia Palace
Photo by Michel27
Industry estimates say, in the next 3 years there will be about 40 international hotels operational in the country. These global chains plan on catering to all the classes—the upper scale, mid-scale, the economy and the budget.

Some of the chains that are set to come to India are MGM Mirage Hospitality a US-based firm, Amari from Thailand, Fairmont Raffles Hotels, Golden Tulip Hotels, Movenpick Hotels and Resorts, Corinthia Hotel group from Europe, Carlson, Starwood, Choice, Marriott, Accor, Hyatt, Intercontinental and Hilton.

Amari Hotels is set to launch Amari India and is searching for expansion opportunities in the Indian metro and tier-II cities to open seven hotels and resorts within the next 5-7 yrs. Likewise, MGM Mirage Hospitality aims to sign management contracts with realty sector developers as joint venture initiatives with local companies to set up hotel properties in the country.

Kaushik Vardharajan of HVS Hospitality Services said that, “India is more profitable for global hospitality firms than the international market. There is huge demand-supply gap which offers opportunities for international firms”. Data gathered by the firm shows that the international and domestic hotel chains had announced in August to build at least 9400 rooms in the country but the actual construction is underway for 3,840 rooms only.

Another hotel chain, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International is in advanced stage of discussions for properties in Delhi, Gurgaon, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Goa and Chennai.
Golden Tulip is looking to add 10 properties which totals to 800 keys across tier-II towns by the end of the next financial year.

Four Seasons, a luxury hotel brand is in various stages of discussions with developers for constructing properties in Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune and Goa. “There is enough room for several players to enter the market. India will become a major market for our company,” said Director Marketing Four Seasons, Sanjiv Shukla.

Accor, which has five hotels at present, will expand its network to 50 with 10,000 rooms in 15 cities by 2012.

ITC Welcomgroup plans to add 40 hotels to its 113 under four brands out Of which 25 are under the Fortune brand of business hotels. Senior Executive Vice-President at ITC, Pawan Verma said that “We are attached to the ground unlike them (international chains). We excel in Indian hospitality”.

The Taj Group is growing furiously both in the country and abroad. It is looking to roll more than 70 new hotels in 4 categories including its budget brand Ginger to add to the 105 hotels out of which 17 will be abroad.

However, falling rates of up to 18 per cent over last year has become a cause of concern for these hospitality chains. In 2008-09, the average room rate was Rupees 7,800 which has now reduced to Rupees 6,396 per night.

Still it will not be wrong to say that Indian hospitality is in a state of war where hotel rooms are being built like army barracks.