GMR seeks strategic partners to monetise Hyderabad land to cut debt

Photo: Mint

GMR Infrastructure Ltd is planning to bring in strategic partners to develop around 1500 acres in Hyderabad, as it heads for a major land monetisation exercise to pare its debt, said a top company executive.

GMR Airport Land Development, a subsidiary of the New Delhi-based infrastructure group, holds around 5500 acres including the existing Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, located in the outskirts of Hyderabad. Of the total, over 1500 acres is being planned for development of an Airport City that comprises various commercial real estate developments including logistic and warehousing parks, office buildings, hotels and retail.

“We will look for strategic partners. We will look at allotting land to developers and also to companies to build their own campuses. These are all opportunities we will offer in the market,” said Aman Kapoor, chief executive office, GMR Airport Land Development, in an interview with Mint.

While GMR is in the final stages to conclude a deal with Singapore-based e-Shang Redwood (ESR) for a 120 acre logistics park, the company is open to signing more such deals for its retail and other real estate developments, he said.

The land development has been largely driven by the company’s initiative to reduce its mounting debt in the last few years.

As of 31 March 2018, GMR Infrastructure, that operates both Delhi and Hyderabad international airports, had a total debt of₹20,000 crore. Following investment of around ₹8,000 crore into the airport business in March this year by Tata Group and two foreign investment firms, GMR’s outstanding debt is likely to fell to about ₹12,000 crore, Sushil Kumar Modi, GMR’s group chief financial officer (strategic finance) had said.

“No large development of this size can take off by a single partner. We will need financial partners and operating partners. By creating a retail project and office project we hope that more people will look at airport favourably and developers will come to us to take up land for development,” Kapoor said.

The company last week launched the first phase of the 1 million sqft office business park that would have around six towers in the next three to four years. Within the vicinity a 19 acre retail development is also being planned.

At present, GMR Hyderabad Aerotropolis, 100% subsidiary of GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd, is developing the Airport City including the business park.

“So what we are doing right now is to build some critical infrastructure so that it gives more reasons for people to locate here. We have had many discussions (with potential partners and developers). Nothing has come out of it so far but we want to have more such discussions,” Kapoor said.

Setting up a business park and retail space are first initiatives of attracting people into the area, he added.

This article was first published on livemint.com