Xander’s retail arm plans expansion in India
Private equity major Xander Group’s retail arm Virtuous Retail South Asia (VRSA) is actively looking to expand its retail portfolio in India from the current size of 5.5 million sq ft, said a top company official. The platform, jointly owned by Xander and Dutch pension fund asset manager APG, currently has the second largest retail footprint in India.
Following its recent 2-million sq-ft mall acquisition in Mohali for Rs 700 crore, the Singapore-based company is already evaluating proposals for more acquisitions in retail space.
“We are actively looking at various acquisition proposals for our expansion here. We will commit capital from Virtuous Retail South Asia for opportunities with right price and location. Over the next 2-3 years, we are likely to pump in more capital and are open to leveraging as well,” Siddharth Yog, founder, Xander Group, told media.
For its proposed acquisitions, Virtuous Retail is looking at cities including Mumbai Metropolitan Region, National Capital Region, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Jaipur and Lucknow. The size of these acquisitions may range from 200,000 sq ft neighborhood centres to 1 million sq ft for its VR flagship centres. “We will be looking at dense micro markets as ideal locations for our retail properties. Our operational properties in Bengaluru, Surat and Mohali are receiving robust response owing to right catchment area, premium experience and value proposition,“ Yog said, adding that its new 2-million sq ft Chennai property will open early next year.
The deal for the Mohali mall took place within six months of the creation of the Virtuous Retail South Asia platform worth $450 million with APG late last year. This acquisition was in line with VRSA’s expansion strategy to build a pan-India institutional retail portfolio of lifestyle centres through both greenfield properties and acquiring existing high-quality assets. 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. Xander’s total retail portfolio in India is around 9 million sq ft, including VRSA’s 5.5 million sq ft and three other tieups in Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru.