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GIC commits to S$600m Indian business space venture

The Singapore state investment fund is a ‘principal investor’ in an India-focused development venture managed by neighbor, the developer-cum-fund manager Ascendas Group.

GIC Private, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, has committed to a property development platform in India led by developer-cum-fund manager Ascendas Group.

The Ascendas India Growth Program is expected to have assets valued at S$600 million (€357 million; $483 million), according to an announcement carried by both organizations. GIC has been described as a “principal investor” in the announcement.

The platform’s principal focus is on “business space” and investments could happen in the cities of Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune.

The program will leverage on the projected strong demand for business space in India, the two organizations said in the announcement.

Manohar Khiatani, president and chief executive officer of Ascendas, said: “The Program builds upon our presence in India and offers an opportunity to share our expertise in developing and managing business space in the market. We are happy to have attracted GIC, a globally experienced, long-term investor, as a principal investor.”

GIC’s real estate activities are led in India by Kishore Gotety, the former head for India Real Estate at ex-Deutsche Bank platform RREEF. He opened the state fund’s office in Mumbai in 2011.

“GIC opened its India office…as a demonstration of its commitment in the country’s growth potential,” the state fund said in the announcement. “The Program is premised on that same belief and leverages on the attractive opportunities for developing quality office space in India’s real estate sector.”

Its investment in Ascendas’ platform follows a reported $200 million investment made alongside another Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings and Oman’s State General Reserve Fund to a mortgage program of Indian housing financier Housing Development Finance.

It also further demonstrates how some large institutional investors are prioritizing the forming of long-term partnerships with investment managers, particularly in emerging markets. 

In the past year India alone has seen various large institutions set up similarly themed partnerships, including Dutch pension manager APG and Mumbai-based Godrej Properties, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority with Mumbai-based Kotak Realty Funds and the Qatar Investment Authority with RMZ Corp, a developer based in Bangalore.