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Thursday, May 26, 2005

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Three top investors to float real estate fund

Nilanjan Dey

Kolkata , May 25

REAL estate is attracting more big-time investors.

The latest to join their ranks are stockbroker Mr Anand Rathi, financier Mr Kaushal Kumbhat and property developer Mr Atul Chordia, who are jointly floating a Rs 500-crore fund for investing in real estate.

The fund, being set up as a close-ended vehicle, will shortly begin to raise the targeted corpus, part of which will be directed towards investing in joint ventures in association with property developers. Allocations will also be made to deals for land acquisition.

"We will be able to do a soft launch in a short while," Mr Kumbhat told Business Line, adding that the fund will try to provide 25 per cent returns to investors. For the latter, advantages will include zero tax incidence, he pointed out.

The directors on the board of the trustee company will include Mr Rathi and Mr Chordia. Mr Rathi, a former BSE president, is head of Anand Rathi Securities, while the Pune-based Mr Chordia is actively involved in property development. Mr Kumbhat, who is based in Kolkata, is associated with a local financial consulting firm.

Mr Sumit Bhargava, who had handled various assignments in the real estate sector, has been hired as the chief executive. The promoters, incidentally, are also involved in setting up another venture fund, to be registered in Mauritius, which will be marketed chiefly to NRI investors.

Nearer home, the fund has already started to talk informally to a few real estate developers, while lease agreements are being lined up with corporates, some of which are in the software sector, Mr Kumbhat stated.

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