ESR set to embark on India industrial program – Exclusive

The Asia-focused logistics real estate developer and operator is in the process of formalizing approvals and appointing a managing director for India, PERE has learned.

e-Shang Redwood (ESR), the Asia-focused logistics real estate developer and operator, is preparing to launch operations in India, joining a small but growing number of foreign firms that are betting on the country’s industrial and warehousing sector.

PERE has learned from two sources familiar with the development that the firm is currently in the process of getting formal approvals to set up shop in the country.

Once these are in place, Jai Mirpuri, ESR’s Singapore-based managing director for investments and a long-serving executive at the firm, will relocate to India to head its operations in the country, with the entire process formalized in the next couple of months, one source said.

ESR declined to comment on the news.

An expansion in to India for ESR, the entity formed out of a merger between e-Shang and Redwood Group early marks a return into the country for Redwood as well as Mirpuri. Redwood opened an office in Mumbai in 2007 and Mirpuri joined the firm as associate director for global special projects. Venugopal Gupta, previously with Prologis, was appointed by Redwood as senior director and country manager for India.

In 2009, Redwood went on to form a joint venture partnership with DHFL Venture Capital to launch a private equity logistics-driven warehousing fund for India, as per earlier PERE reports. At the time, the firm also spoke of plans to develop logistics parks in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Pune.

ESR did not respond to PERE queries on when the office was shut down, and the status of these planned projects.

For ESR , India will be its maiden regional expansion attempt in its pursuit of becoming a dominant pan-Asia logistics operator. Until now the firm has concentrated its efforts in three markets – China, Japan, and Korea – where it had a combined pipeline of more than six million square meters as of December, 2016.

Spurred by regulatory reforms and continuing growth of ecommerce, many international developers and private equity firms are seeking opportunities in India’s warehousing and logistics sector. The Chinese developer, Dalian Wanda for instance recently signed an agreement to develop Wanda Industrial New City in Haryana with an investment of $10 billion, according to The Economic Times.

One key enabler is the Goods and Services Tax (GST), billed as the biggest-ever tax reform in the country, which was approved last year, and is expected to be enforced this July, creating a single nationwide value-added tax on goods and services instead of several layers of state and central indirect taxes.