Why Blackstone is betting big on India

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Why Blackstone is betting big on India
The ticker and trading information for Blackstone Group is displayed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The company has doubled down on its commitment to India – buoyed by the underlying strong sentiments of doing business in the world’s largest democracy.Courtesy: Reuters

US investment giant to pour in more funds into India as it anticipates robust growth across several sectors.

With a wide variety of deals worth more than $720 million for massive portfolios of industrial property, development sites and other assets, global investment firm Blackstone has doubled down on its commitment to India – buoyed by the underlying strong sentiments of doing business in the world’s largest democracy.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Blackstone is looking to buy 3.5 million square feet of existing warehousing space, with the potential to build another 18 million square feet of space on top of that in India. The move follows Blackstone’s acquisition of Piramal Glass for a valuation of $1 billion in late 2020 — the largest ever transaction for a packaging company in India.

In the past decade or so, Blackstone has invested more than $22 billion in the country and some of its existing investments include Mphasis (with a total $4.8 billion commitment), Nexus Malls, edutech player Aakash, global leader in recyclable packaging tubes Essel Propack, and largest independent affordable housing finance company Aadhar.

But US-based investors have also poured money into the wider Indian property market over the last year. Last summer, Blackstone and Brookfield were competing to buy brick-and-mortar retail properties struggling amid the pandemic.

With more than $50 billion in assets already under management in India, the Wall Street major is increasing its bet on the country, promising to pump in more dollars than it has already invested in the past decade.

Workers at a construction site in India. Blackstone sees India as the most successful investment destination for the company and it anticipates investing more in the next 10 years than ever before.
Workers at a construction site in India. Blackstone sees India as the most successful investment destination for the company and it anticipates investing more in the next 10 years than ever before.Courtesy: Reuters

Indian market is profitable

For the American alternate investment management giant with close to $620 billion in assets under management (AUMs) globally, India is its most profitable market in terms of returns – its seed investment of around $25 billion is worth more than $50 billion at present, according to its chairman and chief executive Stephen A Schwarzman.

However, India remains the most successful investment destination for the company and it anticipates investing more in the next 10 years than ever before, Schwarzman told PTI in an interview.

Stephen Schwarzman, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Blackstone. His company in India supports employment of around 2 million and directly employs over 65,000 people.
Stephen Schwarzman, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Blackstone. His company in India supports employment of around 2 million and directly employs over 65,000 people.Courtesy: Reuters

In the past decade or so, Blackstone has invested more than $22 billion in the country and some of its existing investments include Mphasis (with a total $4.8 billion commitment), Nexus Malls, edutech player Aakash, global leader in recyclable packaging tubes Essel Propack, and largest independent affordable housing finance company Aadhar. This is apart from the two REITs it holds, making Blackstone the largest owner of office and real estate in India and a leading player in the retail and logistics space with a portfolio of around 130 million across offices and retail malls.

“Our India portfolio companies, including real estate companies, support employment of around 2 million and directly employ over 65,000 people,” Schwarzman said. “We are also committing $5 million to support India's pandemic reliefs and vaccination efforts to provide healthcare services to marginalised communities in rural and urban areas, address shortages of oxygen concentrators and ventilators, and provide healthcare workers with essential supplies,” he said.

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