Sat. Feb 24th, 2024


New Delhi: DS Group, the makers of Rajnigandha pan masala and Catch spices, is exploring the acquisition of the Great India Place Mall complex at Noida in Delhi-NCR, two people aware of the development said. A deal is likely at around 2,000 crore, they said, which would make it one of the biggest in Noida’s real estate sector.

“The company is expanding its presence in the retail and hospitality sector,” one of the two people cited above said on the condition of anonymity.

The entire complex has a developed area of 147 acres, comprising various malls and vacant space, which can be used to build commercial or residential buildings. There is currently about 1.7 million sq. ft available for development.

The Great India Place was jointly developed by the Appu Ghar Group and the Unitech Group. Now, Unitech holds 42% in the mall, while the rest is owned by other investors.

“The complex is up for sale since it has a debt of about 1,000 crore, and its current promoters (that includes the Unitech Group) are not in a comfortable financial position. This deal would provide a huge bump to any company expanding in the retail sector,” said a second person on the condition of anonymity.

The Great India Place Mall was impacted by the pandemic outbreak, and from newer malls coming up in its vicinity. It is estimated that malls in India lost about 3,000 crore due to the pandemic and lockdowns.

The bid by the Noida-based DS Group, which also makes Pulse candies, is part of its strategy to diversify into premium retail and hospitality. In July, it acquired Bengaluru-based Viceroy Hotels, which owns the Marriott-managed Renaissance Bengaluru.

“The Renaissance deal was of 300 crore, and the company was willing to fund it through internal accruals but then opted for a small loan from a private bank. So, funds are not a problem for the company,” said one of the people cited above.

An email sent to the company did not elicit any response till the time of going to print.

DS Group, which had a revenue of 5,500 crore in FY23, currently owns six hotels, including Renaissance, and is also into premium retail through chains such as Le Marche retail store and L’Opera coffee chain.

The group is banking on the retail and hospitality sectors at a time when both segments are estimated to grow in double digits on the back of growing disposable incomes in India.

The country’s organized retail sector is projected to grow at 25% annually, according to a report by Anarock and Retailers Association of India (RAI). The Indian retail market is expected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2027 and $2 trillion by 2032, driven by a growing middle class.

Retail leasing in India grew 21% in 2022, primarily driven by fashion retailers, hypermarkets, and restaurants, a CBRE report showed. Other key contributing sectors were fashion and apparel, food and beverages, hypermarkets, homeware, and department stores. Among regions, Bengaluru and Delhi-NCR played a significant role, accounting for 61% of the leasing activity.

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Updated: 17 Oct 2023, 12:29 AM IST



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