Mapletree to invest in logistics assets in India

The firm has appointed Souvik Mukherjee to head logistics development in the country. Photo: Bloomberg

The firm has appointed Souvik Mukherjee to head logistics development in the country. Photo: Bloomberg

Bengaluru: In its second innings in India, Singapore-based real estate asset manager Mapletree Investment Pte. Ltd is gearing up to invest in the logistics space, apart from core office assets, said three people familiar with the plans.

Logistics development is a strategic call for Mapletree, which is looking at creating a long-term investment and development portfolio across key cities. The firm has appointed Souvik Mukherjee to head logistics development in the country and for office investments, and Hardeep Dayal as head of investments and asset management. Mapletree has just concluded the acquisition of Chennai-based information technology park SP Infocity for around ₹2,400 crore, marking its return seven years after it had made its first and only investment in the country. The IT park was co-owned by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Shapoorji Pallonji Investment Advisors.

Mapletree had in 2011 focused on the commercial office sector by acquiring Assetz Global Technology Park in Bengaluru for ₹800 crore through its real estate fund Mapletree India China Fund. This time, it is looking at a diversified investment portfolio, and logistics was a natural choice.

“Mapletree will adopt a bottom-up approach where it will start by creating a portfolio on its own. As an institutional investor, it typically looks at large acquisitions. In India, it will do a mix of acquisitions as well as work on brownfield or greenfield projects with select developer partners,” said the first person, who didn’t want to be named. In October, Mapletree acquired a 16.5 million sqft. logistics portfolio for $1.1 billion from Prologis, Inc in a bid to increase its global footprint as a logistics real estate provider and to venture beyond Asia — a strategy it has been executing since 2014. Mapletree Logistics Trust is Singapore’s first Asia-focused logistics real estate investment trust. A Mapletree spokesperson didn’t respond to queries.

The two years through 2019 are expected to see substantial increase in the supply of warehouse stock owing to the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) which will have a positive effect on warehousing activities in India due to diminishing state boundaries, according to a 2018 report by JLL India.

Implementation of GST has made way for cost and operationally efficient hub & spoke (transportation) model of warehousing and has shifted the end-user demand and developer supply from inefficient, low-quality redundant warehouses to large box, good quality Grade A warehouses, said Chandranath Dey, senior vice-president, head-industrial consulting, JLL India.


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