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Blackstone to select banks for first-ever India REIT

Blackstone Group, the world’s largest alternative asset manager, has picked banks for India’s first real estate investment trust listing, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The U.S. company and local partner Embassy Group selected firms including Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Kotak Mahindra Bank and JPMorgan Chase, said the people. The REIT listing would raise about $1 billion, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Axis Bank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC Holdings and JM Financial have also been picked for the transaction, the people said. A representative for Blackstone declined to comment.

Blackstone, the largest owner of office space in the county, will look to file the prospectus for India’s first real estate investment trust listing in August, a person familiar with the matter said.
Pedestrians are reflected on glass in front of Blackstone Group LP headquarters in New York. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

A successful deal could encourage new offerings from India’s cash-starved property firms, which are still recovering from sweeping policy changes and struggling to access liquidity. The Blackstone REIT, which comprises properties that count Microsoft and Rolls-Royce Holdings as tenants, would also be a crucial test after much-hyped infrastructure trusts failed to gain traction in the Indian market.

“A good debut for the Blackstone-Embassy issue could quicken potential offerings by the likes of Xander group, Brookfield, CPPIB and IIFL Holdings who are holding high-quality realty assets,” said Amit Goenka, Mumbai-based managing director of Nisus Finance Services. “Even if only one-fourth of the high-grade, yield-generating commercial properties are moved into trusts, we will have a $50 billion REITs market in India in a few years.”

Goenka was referring to the Xander Group, Brookfield Asset Management, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and IIFL Holdings.

Blackstone, the largest owner of office space in the county, will look to file the prospectus with the capital market regulator in August, one of the people said.

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All the arrangers declined to comment.

The REIT will include properties from the Embassy Group joint venture as well as from Blackstone’s own portfolio, the people said. Blackstone’s real-estate unit has committed about $5.2 billion across 30 investments in India, they said.

Bloomberg News