Chandigarh’s Elante Mall sale on the cards, US firm likely buyer

Carnival Group are in talks with global investment major Blackstone which is a multinational firm founded in 1985 by US-based billionaire and current chairman and chief executive officer Stephen A Schwarzman, and Peter G. Peterson.

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Chandigarh | Published: June 26, 2017 3:43:15 am
elante mall news, us news, india news, indian express news Elante Mall in Industrial Area (Phase 1), Chandigarh. Sahil Walia

ELANTE MALL, Chandigarh’s biggest shopping destination, is likely to soon change hands. The current owners, Carnival Group, are in sale talks with global investment firm Blackstone. Sources said the deal is in its final stages and likely to be finalised soon at a whopping price of nearly Rs 2,000 crore. It is learnt that an official announcement on the deal is imminent. Carnival Group bought Elante in October 2015 for about Rs 1,785 crore from engineering and construction major Larsen & Toubro (L&T), who were the mall’s owner and constructor.

Blackstone is a multinational firm that was founded in 1985 by Stephen A Schwarzman, a US-based billionaire and current chairman and chief executive officer, and Peter G. Peterson, who retired as senior chairman in 2008.

In 2016, Blackstone’s mall-developer arm in India – Nexus Malls – acquired retail major Alpha G: Corp by acquiring two of its malls each in Ahmedabad and Amritsar. Later, the company acquired malls in Navi Mumbai and Pune as well.

Sources said the US-headquartered investor group is planning to increase its presence in nearly 10-12 locations across India. Considered as world’s largest private equity player, Blackstone owns over 1000 malls across United States of America, Asia, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Vikram Garg, principal with the Blackstone Group in the Real Estate team told Chandigarh Newsline that “the information is already in public domain”. However, he refused to divulge any more details on the deal saying that he was “not authorized to comment”.

Elante Mall, spread over an area of 12 lakh square feet, draws thousands of shoppers, cinema goers and mall crawlers daily with its mix of international and domestic brand stores, restaurants and cineplexes. The footfall in the Mall is said to cross a lakh on weekends, and more on festive and holiday seasons. As it is not located on a highway, the no alcohol within 500 mts rule does not apply at the mall, and it has reaped the windfall after the closure of bars at other places in Chandigarh.

Sources disclosed that the annual combined turnover at the Elante Mall is over Rs 1,400 crore. The Hyatt, which was the last major addition to the mall, has touched a turnover of approximately Rs 60 crore in the last financial year.

The office spaces in the mall has an average rental of Rs 90 – Rs 110 per square feet, while the rentals for retain and commercial space varies between Rs 90-Rs 300 per square feet, depending upon the size, location and floor of the space available.

When asked about the change in ownership of the mall, Anil Malhotra, chief executive officer (CEO) of the mall, who has been running it since July 2016, said he was not aware of any such development.

“My job is to ensure that the property flourishes and that we stay number one in the competition and offer best services to our clients and all those who visit our property,” he said.

Despite repeated attempts to contact Carnival group’s chairman Shrikant Bhasi, he did not respond to calls or messages sent to him.

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