APG, Xander make $108m India mall acquisition

Virtuous Retail South Asia, the retail platform set up by APG and Xander, has expanded its retail footprint into North India with the purchase of a shopping mall in Punjab.

Virtuous Retail South Asia (VRSA), an Indian retail investment platform established by Xander Group-sponsored Virtuous Retail and APG Asset Management, has acquired a shopping mall in Punjab for INR 7 billion ($108 million; €99.4 million).

The North Country Mall is a two million-square-feet operating mall in Chandigarh, which VRSA has acquired from JJ Gumberg and private equity firm Sun Apollo. The two firms reportedly held the asset under a 50:50 joint venture partnership.

“North Country Mall offers an exciting opportunity to reformat and reposition a well-built mall in a great location, into a community centric VR flagship for the residents of Chandigarh Capital Region, and into a regional lifestyle destination for residents of surrounding cities. The acquisition expands our footprint into North India,” commented Sid Yog, chairman of the board at VRSA.

Following the acquisition, VRSA’s total retail portfolio in India is around 5.5 million square feet, according to a company statement.

VRSA was established in late 2016 as a $450 million retail platform marking APG’s foray into India’s retail sector. The Dutch pension fund asset manager, which is a majority shareholder in VRSA with a 77 percent stake, tied up with Virtuous Retail, an Indian developer and operator of lifestyle shopping centers that is sponsored by the Xander Group, to set up Singapore-headquartered VRSA. Xander owns the remaining 23 percent in VRSA.

VRSA acquired an initial portfolio of three shopping centers with a combined gross asset value of INR 20 billion at that time. Additionally, APG and Xander also committed $150 million in equity to VRSA to fund acquisitions of new assets.