Xander backed Virtuous Retail South Asia acquires North Country Mall
Private equity major Xander Group is on an acquisition spree in India. After concluding the country’s largest private equity buyout in realty space on Monday, Xander Group’s retail arm Virtuous Retail South Asia, through a platform with Dutch pension fund asset manager APG, has acquired a 2-million-sq-ft mall in Mohali for Rs 700 crore.
The deal also includes paying down existing debt of the mall owner, a joint venture between Sun Apollo and US-based retail operator Gumberg Retail.
Built on total 22 acres, North Country Mall has potential to develop additional 6 lakh sq ft retail space. Currently, the mall’s leasable area of 1 million sq ft, is anchored by brands like H&M, Zara, PVR, Forever 21, Westside, Lifestyle, Central & Home Center, across key retail and lifestyle segments, and a regional Reliance Market. VRSA will also invest in rebranding the mall as a VR flagship center.
The deal is taking place within six months of creation of the Virtuous Retail South Asia (VRSA) platform worth $450 million with APG in late 2016. With this transaction, VRSA’s India retail portfolio now stands at 5.5 million sq ft, being the largest held by an institutional investor and operator in India.
“This acquisition immediately adds 1 million sq ft of high quality retail space to our existing leasable portfolio. We look forward to working with existing and new retail partners. This acquisition, combined with VR Chennai, which is in final lease up stage, enables VRSA to simultaneously offer retailers, two new retail developments of scale, in key markets, at a time when quality retail space is scarce and the economy is poised to grow strongly,” said Rohit George, MD, VRSA.
The acquisition is in line with VRSA’s expansion strategy to build pan-India institutional retail portfolio of lifestyle centers through both greenfield properties and acquiring existing high-quality assets.
“North Country Mall offers an exciting opportunity to reformat and reposition a well-built mall in a great location, into a community centric VR flagship for the residents of the Chandigarh Capital region, and into a regional lifestyle destination for residents of surrounding cities like Ludhiana and Jalandhar,” said Sid Yog, Chairman of the Board, VRSA.
According to Yog, the acquisition expands VRSA’s footprint into north India, has several portfolio synergies, and is value accretive for stakeholders, including retail partners and investors.
With this acquisition, VRSA establishes its presence in north India, adding to its existing portfolio that includes VR Surat and VR Bangalore, and the 2-million-sq-ft VR Chennai scheduled to open in by December.
North Country Mall is located in the Chandigarh Capital Region and is one of the largest operating malls in Punjab. The mall’s catchment area includes the upmarket and high income residential suburb of Mohali, also known for its Cricket Stadium and the Indian School of Business campus.