TCG veteran to launch two PE funds in hotels & realty, films

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 23, 2013 20:11 hrs

Bani Banerjee, who quit as executive director and chief investment officer of The Chatterjee Group Real Estate in mid-2012, after a 17-year stint with the company, is set to launch two private equity funds. One is a Rs 1,060-crore special situations fund to invest in the hotels and real estate sectors. The other is a Rs 200-crore film and entertainment fund.

The special situations fund would be a deal-specific platform. “Today, investors do not prefer to directly invest in a blind pool. We have identified four to five assets and are getting investors into those assets,” Banerjee said.

The real estate and hotel fund would have deal sizes ranging from Rs 53.5 crore to Rs 107 crore. “There are some distress opportunities available in real estate and hotels. We have got some partners from abroad,” he said, adding since he owned a hotel in Kolkata, asset management was forward integration for him.

The entertainment fund would carry out deals between Rs 5 crore and Rs 30 crore and fund film and entertainment projects. Banerjee said he had already roped in a few veterans from the film industry.

Banerjee joins a number of veterans from the real estate investment world who have launched their own funds. Last year, Naresh Naik resigned as managing director, Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing, to set up his own fund. Senior executives of South Asian Real Estate Group, an investment and development company, also resigned to launch a Rs 267.5-crore real estate fund. Nipun Sahni quit as managing director (real estate investments) of Bank of America Merrill Lynch to set up RE-Zone Investment Advisors.

However, experts say many such ventures are yet to achieve significant scale, owing to tough market conditions.

“It is a tough time to raise money. Only people with existing relations would be able to raise funds. Global investors are not very keen to invest in Indian real estate,” said Ambar Maheshwari, managing director (corporate finance), Jones Lang LaSalle, a global property consultant.

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