Buses stop at a bus station as residential buildings stand in the background in Bengaluru, India. (Photographer: Lakshmi Samyukta/Bloomberg)

Blackstone Plans 7% Yield for India's First REIT IPO

(Bloomberg) -- Blackstone Group LP and its Indian partner set a tentative yield for their initial public offering of the country’s first real estate investment trust, which could raise about 52.5 billion rupees ($723 million), people with knowledge of the matter said.

Blackstone and Embassy Group plan to approach investors with an annual yield of around 6.5 percent to 7 percent, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. They are considering marketing the deal with a total return of about 14 percent to 16 percent, which takes into account factors like asset value appreciation and rental increases in addition to yield, the people said.

The firms filed a draft offer document for Embassy Office Parks REIT public issue, which will hold more than 300 billion rupees of assets, with the Indian capital markets regulator on Monday. The real-estate trust will issue fresh units as well as allow unit holders to make an offer for sale, according to the draft offer document. Its portfolio will include about 33 million square feet of real estate, including 24 million square feet of completed projects and another 3 million square feet under development, the document said.

Blackstone is pursuing India’s first REIT as the South Asian country’s cash-starved property firms continue to recover from sweeping policy changes and struggle to access liquidity. The REIT listing would also be an important test after much-hyped infrastructure trusts failed to gain traction in India.

Office Parks

The listing will include properties from the Embassy joint venture as well as from Blackstone’s own portfolio, the document said. In 2012, Blackstone and its Indian partner created a joint venture called Embassy Office Parks, which includes properties that count Microsoft Corp. and Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc as tenants.

Blackstone’s REIT, which will initially target about 52.5 billion rupees, will include a so-called greenshoe option to boost the size of the offering by about 25 percent depending on demand, according to the people. Details of the offering are still being discussed, and the proposed terms could change, the people said.

The Economic Times reported the planned yield earlier Monday, citing unidentified people. Representatives for Blackstone and Embassy declined to comment.

Rising Rents

Properties included in the REIT currently have a combined annual rental income of about 20 billion rupees, the people said. The REIT’s backers expect that to increase about 55 percent over the next three years, as rents will rise after the long-term leases of current tenants expire, the people said.

Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. and Morgan Stanley are leading the offering, the people said. Axis Bank Ltd., Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., HSBC Holdings Plc, IIFL Holdings Ltd., JM Financial Ltd. and Nomura Holdings Inc. are also working on the deal, according to the people.

Blackstone’s real-estate unit, the largest owner of office space in India, has spent $5.3 billion on about 30 investments in the country, the people said. About $3.9 billion was invested in commercial property, with the remainder going into retail and residential projects, the people said.

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