Trikona’s Kalra Says Not Impacted by Down Cycle in India

While it is anticipated that it will be short-lived, India is currently facing a cyclical downturn in its economy, according to a recent report by real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield Inc. However, the temporary deceleration is not stopping New York City-based fund management firm Trikona Capital Ltd. from continuing to move full speed ahead with various projects. Trikona managing director Aashish Kalra spoke to CPN about why his company remains successful in India. CPN: In July, you announced a $40 million co-investment deal with German fund Manager SachsenFonds for the redevelopment of middle class and luxury residences in Bandra, just outside of Mumbai’s CBD. What is spurring demand for multifamily accommodations?Kalra: I think there are two things that are spurring demand. First, India is a very young country; 54 percent are under the age of 25. There’s a lot of rapid urbanization. About 300 million will move to the city over the next decade, and that is really the primary driver. Also, there country is getting richer, so people want to trade up. The middle class is where the bulk of properties need to be in the market. CPN: Aside from residential, what real estate sectors are short on supply?Kalra: If you look at India, it is a land of scarcity. Most of the economy is in agriculture and growing at 2 or 3 percent, while the rest of the economy is growing at 10 percent so there is demand in every sector. We need office; we need storage; we need logistics; we need three- and four-star hotels–India doesn’t have these.CPN: What are the challenges to developing in India right now?Kalra:  The only way you can get access to land is through rejuvenation so you can negotiate with the government and in order to do that you have to roll up your sleeves and know how valued is created, and the act of creation is where you make money. Real estate in India tends to be socially and politically charged. You have to understand that and operate in a manner to create value for the country and value for shareholders.Trikona manages over $1 billion in Indian infrastructure and real estate assets.