RREEF, Blackstone Ramp Up Investments in India

RREEF, a unit of Deutsche Bank AG and the world’s largest alternative investment manager, has plans to invest more than $1 billion in India’s real estate and infrastructure assets over the next three years, according to a news report by Bloomberg today. In related news, a unit of The Blackstone Group has purchased a stake in a prominent Indian construction- and asset-management firm.  “It’s known that India needs more than $450 billion in investments for developing infrastructure,” Kurt Roeloffs, RREEF’s regional CEO based in Singapore, told Bloomberg. “We think India will be an attractive emerging real estate and infrastructure market for our clients.”  Measured in terms of purchasing power parity, India’s economy is the world’s third-largest; by exchange rates against the U.S. dollar, it’s the 10th-largest. The country’s GDP totals U.S.$1.5 trillion, and the economy is the world’s second fastest-growing, with a GDP growth rate of 9.4 percent for fiscal 2006–07.  Over the past two years, RREEF’s alternative asset investments have doubled in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Bloomberg, and its assets under management there now account for about 15 percent of its global total.  A separate announcement from RREEF Alternative Investments reported that it had purchased a 60 percent stake in a 5-million-square-foot mixed-use project in Hyderabad in southern India. The 31-acre, $400 million project will be developed with NCC Urban Infrastructure, a unit of Nagarjuna Construction Co. Further terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The project is to include office, residential, retail and hospitality space. As previously reported in CPN, RREEF Infrastructure helped to pioneer the infrastructure investment specialty in 1993. Last year, RREEF Infrastructure acquired Maher Terminals L.L.C., which operates port facilities in Port Elizabeth, N.J., and Prince Rupert, British Columbia. Also last year, RREEF and H&Q Asia Pacific formed a $550 million joint venture to develop over 25 Hilton Garden Inn properties in China.  And in another India-related announcement, the Blackstone Real Estate Partners affiliate of private-equity firm The Blackstone Group said it had agreed to invest about $18 million for a minority stake, with board representation, in Synergy Property Development Services Private Ltd., one of India’s top project- and construction-management companies.  Formed in 2003 and based in Bangalore, Synergy has more than 500 employees in nine offices in India, as well as offices in Dubai and Kuala Lumpur. The company has completed more than 20 million square feet of space and currently manages more than 100 million square feet in varied property types, such as office, retail, residential, hotels and hospitals.