By Dilasha Seth
Between 1981 and 1990, DLF got 57 of the 101 realty project licences awarded in Gurgaon - about 56 per cent of the total. In the same period, Ansal Properties, another prime player in this market, held 32 project licences in Gurgaon.
Switch to 2012, and things are quite different. DLF was issued just eight of the 73 licences for Gurgaon in 2012. In 2011, too, the number was low for the country's largest realty player - it was issued six licences by Town and Country Planning, Haryana, of the total of 84 for Gurgaon. Another prominent player in Gurgaon, Unitech, was issued four licences from 1980-90, and it got one in 2012 and two in 2011 in the region, according to data available with analysts.
While the numbers point at DLF's near-monopoly getting diluted with the emergence of new developers such as Bestech, SRS, Godrej, Tata Housing, Sobha Developers and M3M in the region, it's only partially the case. DLF still holds the first-mover advantage in the region, say analysts, while pointing at its significant land bank. It may not have been launching many projects lately, but it has 'latent capacity', observers say.
Sanjay Sharma, managing director, Qubrex, a real estate consultancy, says in DLF City, Gurgaon, the realtor has about 3,000 acres of land, while other developers own much less. "In New Gurgaon, it has about 4,000 acres of land, according to the company's presentation a few years back," he says.
According to analysts, other developers are nowhere close to DLF when it comes to their respective land banks in Gurgaon. Exact land bank figures for other developers in the region are not available.
"Developers have taken into account the potential of the Gurgaon market after seeing the massive escalation of property prices of DLF's projects here," says an industry executive.
Take for instance, DLF Aralias, in the news in connection with the alleged DLF-Robert Vadra nexus. Aralias was launched way back in 2002-03 at Rs 1,800 per sq ft, and it has seen a 15-fold jump in value, to Rs 30,000 sq ft now.
Around 1,500 to 2,000 luxury apartments and villas were added to the Gurgaon market in the past year itself, according to an estimate by IndiaHomes. However, Sharma of Qubrex says the price of DLF's apartment is equivalent to 10 apartments by any other player. "DLF leads in terms of sales value," he says.
|HOLDING ITS GROUND? |
The emergence of new players has given competition to DLF in terms of licences awarded
| ||1981 |
|& Total number of licences includes those issued to other |
companies that are not mentioned in the table
Source: Town and Country Planning, Haryana
Samarjit Singh, MD, IndiaHomes, says DLF has been going slow on new launches in the region due to the cash crunch it is facing. "The licences are valid only up to three or four years. Therefore, DLF is waiting for the market conditions to improve."
In August 2011, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposed a penalty of Rs 630 crore on DLF for 'abusing its dominant position' in the Gurgaon market in the case of two of its projects - Belaire and Park Place. In March this year, the CCI gave a similar order for DLF's Magnolia project, but did not impose any additional penalty. To prove DLF's dominance in Gurgaon, the competition watchdog had considered the all-India sales figures of realty players to establish their market share in Gurgaon. The CCI had concluded that on an all-India basis, DLF had a market share of 40 per cent in 2007-08 and 33 per cent in 2008-09. In Gurgaon, its market share exceeded 65 per cent in those two years. That was contested by DLF as an inappropriate manner of calculating market share, since a developer might be a dominant player in one market, but have little presence in another.
DLF had contested it in the Competition Appellate Tribunal (Compat), saying several realtors had dominated the Gurgaon realty sector through the years.