February 2013
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TCG veteran to launch PE funds in realty, films

Bani Banerjee, a veteran of 17 years with The Chatterjee Group (TCG), is launching two private equity funds to tap opportunities in Indian real estate, hotels, and film and entertainment sector.
Banerjee, who quit as executive director and chief investment officer of TCG Real Estate in mid 2012, is launching a $200 million (Rs 1,060 crore) special situations fund which will invest in both hotels and real estate sectors and Rs 200 crore film and entertainment fund. The special situations fund will be deal specific platform where the investors will directly invest in specific deals rather than putting funds in a pool.
“Today investors do not prefer to directly invest in a blind pool. We have identified 4-5 assets and getting investors in those assets,” Banerjee said.
The real estate and hotel fund will have deal sizes ranging $10 million to $20 million, he said.

“There are some distress opportunities available in real estate and hotels. We have already got some partners from overseas,” he said. Since he also owns a hotel in Kolkata, the asset management is a forward integration for him, he said.
The entertainment fund will do deals between Rs 5 crore and Rs 30 crore and fund film and entertainment projects and Banerjee has already roped in some veterans from film industry, he said.
By launching new funds, Banerjee is joining a number of veterans from real estate investment world who have quit their positions to launch their own funds.
Last year, Naresh Naik, managing director, Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing (MSREI), resigned to set up his own fund. Senior executives of South Asian Real Estate Group or SARE Group, an investment and development company, resigned to launch a $50-million real estate fund.
Nipun Sahni who was the managing director of Real Estate Investments for Bank of America Merril Lynch quit and set up RE- Zone Investment Advisors.
However, according to industry experts, many of the ventures founded by the veterans are yet to gain significant scale due to tough market conditions.
“It is tough time to raise money. Only people with existing relations will be able to raise funds. Global investors are not very keen to invest in Indian real estate,” said Ambar Maheshwari, managing director, corporate finance, Jones Lang LaSalle, a global property consultant.
Source: Business Standard

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