Mumbai-based developer Lodha Group has bought a prime property in London for Pound-90 million (Rs 920 crore) from West End of London Property Unit Trust. This comes two and a half months after signing a mega-property deal in the UK capital for Rs 3,000 crore.
The property is located on Carey Street, next to the London School of Economics and Political Science and the Royal Courts of Justice and spread over 1.15 acres, with saleable area of 200,000 square feet.
Managing Director (MD) Abhisheck Lodha said the initial amount had been paid and the company was expected to pay the rest in three months. "Payments will be made through internal accruals," he said.
Lodha is planning to build premium residential buildings on the property, the MD added.
"Lodha plans to focus on London as one of our two main markets and we will continue to look for opportunities. We will serve London in the same manner that we serve Mumbai - with world-class products intended to serve all key market segments," he said.
In November last year, Lodha bought the seven-storey Macdonald House in central London for Rs 3,000 crore. A day after the deal was signed, Abhinandan Lodha, deputy managing director, said the company was looking to buy more properties in the city.
"We have had sales of Rs 14,500 crore in the past 18 months. We can fund this with our own funds," the MD said.
Lodha has already opened a 1,000-sq-ft office at Chester Square in London and hired Tyler Goodwin, former JPMorgan Global Assets Management managing director, as the chief executive of the UK business.
Lodha, which has tied up with US' Trump Organisation for a Mumbai project, is looking to build high-end apartments on the Macdonald House plot. The property has 150,000 sq ft of saleable area, with prices around Pound-5,000 in the Grosvenor Square area.
"London is a 200,000-apartment-a-year market and central London's property market grew six per cent year-on-year last year," Lodha had said.
Sanjay Dutt, managing director of realty consultant Cushman & Wakefield, said: "It seems they have a broader strategy to create business in the two countries (India and the UK) with the long-term objective of each family member looking after one. If valuations in London are as expensive in Mumbai, it is not a bad idea to create business in mature markets," said.
Lodha has emerged as the biggest land buyer in the country, acquiring plots worth Rs 12,000 crore in the past three years. It is developing 30 projects in Mumbai and had sales of Rs 8,700 crore in the financial year 2013.
In 2012, Lodha bought 17 acres from DLF, the country's largest property developer, in Worli here for Rs 2,725 crore.