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Nexus files for India’s 1st retail REIT public issue

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The Nexus Select Trust REIT is backed by Blackstone. The USD 500 mn public issue will hit the market in the first half of 2023 calendar year

Ahmedabad One Mall by Nexus Select Trust REIT
In addition to Nexus Ahmedabad One mall, Nexus has 16 operational malls across the country

New Delhi: Global investment firm Blackstone-sponsored Nexus Select Trust filed the draft paper with market regulator SEBI on Thursday to launch India’s first public issue of retail Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) to raise around USD 500 million, sources said.

Nexus Select Trust has a portfolio of 17 operational shopping malls across 14 major cities, covering about 10 million sq. ft. area valued around USD 3 billion.

As per the sources, Nexus Select Trust has filed the Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP) with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). It is looking to hit the capital market with India’s first retail REIT public issue in the first half of 2023 calendar year.

More about the IPO
The size of the initial public offer (IPO) of Nexus Select Trust REIT will be around USD 500 million, they added.

The REIT, a popular instrument globally, was introduced in India a few years ago to attract investment in the real estate sector by monetising rent-yielding assets. It helps unlock the massive value of real estate assets and enables participation of retail investors.

At present, there are three listed REITs — Embassy Office Parks REIT, Mindspace Business Parks REIT and Brookfield India Real Estate Trust — on Indian stock exchanges but all these are leased office assets.

Nexus Select Trust will be the first REIT with rent-yielding retail real estate assets.

Bullish on Growth
In its portfolio of 10 million square feet of retail real estate, Nexus Select Trust has also included Select Citywalk mall in south Delhi. There are around 3,000 stores in its shopping malls while the number of brands is approximately 1,000.

The sources said Blackstone is bullish on the growth story of India’s retail sector, which have bounced back sharply post the second wave of the Covid pandemic.

“The fundamental of India’s retail business is very strong. People are spending money and watching movies,” a source said.

Unlike the office segment, there are not many players in the shopping malls business. Moreover, the supply of Grade A malls is also limited, the sources said.

On the operational front, the occupancy level in the malls currently stands at 94 per cent with an annual footfall of over 130 million, they said.

The sales in Nexus’ malls during the April-June quarter have been 24 per cent more than the pre-Covid level.

Nexus Leadership
Nexus Select Trust has done leasing of around 3.5 million square feet over the last three years and three months. Its senior management team consisting of nine CXOs (with 20+ years average experience) led by Dalip Sehgal (former executive director of Unilever India) as CEO is supported by over 500 employees.

The board of directors is highly diversified and experienced. The key board members are Michael Holland (ex-CEO of the Embassy REIT), Arjun Sharma (Chairman and Director of the Select Group), Jayesh Merchant (ex-CFO Asian Paints),
Sadashiv Rao (Former Director of IDFC) and Tuhin Parikh (Head of BX India Real Estate).

Blockstone’s REIT Portfolio
Blackstone has a real estate portfolio of 85 assets totalling 150 million square feet across office, retail and logistics segments.

In office, Blackstone is collectively one of India’s largest office landlords (41 assets totalling 101 million square feet), while in logistics and industrial space, the Blackstone is one of India’s largest warehousing landlords (21 assets totalling 38 million square feet).

Blackstone has recently set up a fully-owned platform ‘Lumina’ to invest in data centres across Asia, with initial focus on India.

Nexus Select Trust will be the third REIT sponsored by Blackstone. It had earlier launched India’s first REIT — Embassy Office Parks REIT in April 2019. Its size was Rs 4,750 crore.

The second REIT backed by Blackstone was Mindspace Business Park in which Blackstone and K Raheja raised Rs 4,500 crore. Global investment firm Brookfield has listed the country’s third REIT after raising Rs 3,800 crore through an IPO.