Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Indian Billionaire Adani May Add $4 Billion to Fortune With IPO

Indian property magnate Gautam Adani may be about to add $4 billion to his personal fortune.

Adani's Mundra Port & Special Economic Zone Ltd. probably will more than double during its first trading day in Mumbai today, according to a survey of five investors who are monitoring the initial public offering. That would boost the value of his family's 81.3 percent stake to $7.8 billion.

Real estate ``has caught the fancy of investors,'' said Jayesh Shroff, who holds property companies DLF Ltd. and Indiabulls Real Estate Ltd. among the $6 billion he helps manage at SBI Funds Management Pvt. in Mumbai. ``We could see many more billion-dollar property tycoons as investors pay a premium to own real-estate stocks.''

India's 10 richest property investors have more funds than Donald Bren, Donald Trump, Samuel Zell and the next seven wealthiest U.S. real-estate investors, Forbes Magazine reported. Mumbai has the world's second-highest office rents after London's West End, according to data compiled by real-estate broker CB Richard Ellis. Rents in Mumbai rose 55 percent in the past year to $189.51 per square foot, almost double the costs in midtown Manhattan, CB Richard Ellis reported.

Adani, 45, is among eight Indian developers whose wealth exceeded $1 billion for the first time this year, Forbes reported. A government plan to spend $500 billion on ports, roads and airports has lured investors to developers focusing on infrastructure.

Infrastructure Spending

Adani's Mundra Port, India's largest cargo terminal outside government control, attracted $52 billion of bids for the IPO, 116 times the stock for sale. Adani declined to be interviewed for this story.

The IPO raised 17.7 billion rupees ($446 million) this month with shares sold at 440 rupees. The shares may debut today at about 1,000 rupees apiece based on off-market trading by investors who missed out on the sale.

Mundra Port is about 70 kilometers (45 miles) from the airport at Bhuj in the western state of Gujarat. The port can cater to companies including Reliance Industries Ltd., which is constructing the world's biggest refinery in the state.

India's per capita income increased 40 percent in the past four years, helping real-estate developers as prices for homes in the southern part of Mumbai almost doubled in the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Prices in New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai also climbed as more local and overseas companies expand operations.

Housing Shortage

Demand for homes near the capital New Delhi helped DLF complete India's biggest initial public offering this year. The July IPO lifted the fortune of Chairman Kushal Pal Singh, 76, to $35 billion, making him the world's richest property tycoon, according to Forbes.

The government's five-year plan estimates a housing shortage of about 24.7 million units. Almost half of the 210 million households still live in temporary shelters, implying a significant demand for low-income and mid-income housing.

``This is a sunrise industry and we have just started off,'' said Pradeep Jain, chairman of Parsvnath Developers Ltd. who is ranked by Forbes as India's 46th wealthiest person. ``We could see 30 to 40 new billionaires from the real-estate sector next year.''


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