We see huge opportunities, given the demographics, demand for housing: Pirojsha Godrej

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 19, 2012 19:10 hrs

Pirojsha Godrej, 31, son of Godrej Group Chairman Adi Godrej and executive director of Godrej Properties, will be latter’s managing director and CEO from April 1. In an interview to Raghavendra Kamath, he outlines his plans. Edited excerpts:

How do you plan to steer the company when there is a slowdown in many of the property markets in the country?
Yes, there are a lot challenges, but we also see a huge amount of opportunities, given the demographics and demand for housing. In the first place, the joint venture model we follow is well positioned to mitigate the risks and take advantage of the opportunities. We are getting a lot of new deals at attractive valuations. So far, we have signed nine joint ventures with a total area of 10 million sq ft in the current financial year.

What is your vision for the company? Where do you want to see it in the next five years?
I look forward to having substantial growth in the next couple of years. We have grown at a 50 per cent CAGR (compounded annual rate) in the past five years and would like to sustain that. Our vision is to have revenues of Rs 20,000 crore by 2021 from Rs 550 crore last financial year.

Your three focus areas?
First, we’ll make sure there will be a lot of discussion at the management level and that we grow with those inputs. Second, to be able to attract the best talent and motivate them to give their best. Third, at the operational level, we improve project timelines and deliver these as quickly as possible.

What are some of the important lessons you’ve learnt from your stint with Godrej Properties so far?
The first is scenario planning for the events you did not forsee and how to mitigate the risks. I have also learnt the advantages of the Godrej brand and how to leverage that and add value to it.

At 31, you have become the managing director & CEO. Does such a huge responsibility bother you?
I think it is an exciting opportunity and I am happy the board has reposed faith in me. I have spent eight years with the company, of which the last three years are in a senior executive capacity. I am ready to take on the challenge and the company is well poised to take advantages in the property sector.

What is your outlook for the property market?
We are very bullish on the long-term advantages. I think 2012 will be much better for the real estate sector than 2011. Last year, there were concerns on the global front—European debt crisis and economic slowdown in many countries. On the domestic front, we saw the government finding it difficult to enact any reforms due to opposition, rising interest rates and lack of clarity on the regulatory front.

With RBI signalling a halt in rate hikes and hopes of government kickstarting economic reforms after state elections, clarity on the regulatory front and recent data on US growth numbers indicate that sentiments in 2012 will be better.

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