Bank of Patel

ceejay_house.jpgSome people go to a bank, others have the private bankers come to them, but the Indian Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel (whose daughter was recently married) has taken it one step further by living in the same building as the banks, enter – Ceejay House. Ceejay House is located on Dr. Annie Besant Road in Worli, across the street from Atria Mall and next to Poonam Apartments. Ceejay House is owned by the Ceejay Group which Praful Patel owns.

Ceejay House stands impressively at 14 stories and has over 275,000 square feet. It’s currently being quoted around Rs 500/sq ft, which means it will generate over INR 13.7 Crore (USD 3.1 million) in rent a month. But, the building will never be fully leased because Praful has taken the top two floors for his house, which equates to around 40,000 sq feet of living space. Anywhere in the world that is a lot, but in Bombay that’s fu!@#$ hugh.

It only makes sense he lives in the building since he’ll need a place to invest the monthly income the building will generate. And that is where the banks come into play, some of the larger private bankers and private equity guys will be just a few floors below him.

Some of the tenants are Barclays, Credit Suisse, Societe Generale, Lehman Brothers, DEPFA, HypoVereinsbank, Halycon Trading Company, India Equity Partners, Matrix Partners (the guys that started and sold out to eBay) and INOX Leisure Limited (they own and run the INOX chain of theaters).

The Indian KKK

logo_goldmansachs.gifNo, i’m not talking about the Ku Klux Klan (aka jackasses) but Kothari, Kotak and Kampani. Over the past 18 months they each have sold their joint venture stakes.

– Dec 2005, Hemendra Kothari sold out to Merrill Lynch for USD 500 million

– March 2006, Uday Kotak sold out to Goldman Sachs for USD 74 million

– Feb 2007, Nimesh Kampani sold out to Morgan Stanley for USD 500 million

Do these guys know something we don’t about the markets? My guess is the investment banks pushed for the separation so they could start their own wholly owned offices in India. In the process some of these guys made out like bandits for being in the right place at the right time.

The Trouble with India

bw_cover_india.png The latest cover story of BusinessWeek sums up the attitude that many people face when conducting business in India. Although the story didn’t cover much on Bombay, it faces the same issues as Bangalore and other cities. Which sadly it should not, being the financial hub of the country it generates over 40% of all taxes paid, and also generates a lot of “black money” – unreported income. A great quote is “What Bombay Makes, Delhi Takes.” The contrast is large between the large roads in Noida (near Delhi) vs. the pothole roads in Bombay.

The article talks about “leakage” as a problem, but another equally painful problem is low expectations. You see it everywhere, in newly built flats that just don’t have the fit and finish you expect, the roads have potholes within days of being built, or malls that have very little parking. And because of this low expectation, things are just half planned or half thought out.

(click on the BusinessWeek cover for the full article)

Forbes Billionaires

forbes_120_160.gif The latest list from Forbes is out and there are a large number of Indians on the list this year. Many can be attributed to sky high equity valuations and insane property prices. Some of them are:

#62 – KP Singh of DLF. USD 10 billion. A major property developer in Delhi, although not currently listed on the exchanges, valuations done on the enormous land the company owns.

#114 – Ramesh Chandra – Unitech. USD 6.4 billion. Listed on the exchanges.

#754 – PNC Menon – Sobha Developers. USD 1.3 billion. List on the exchanges.

#840 – Pradeep Jain of Parsvnath Developers. USD 1.1 billion. I wrote about their IPO previously and it currently trades 50% off it’s 52 week high. So I’m guessing if you had to calculate his wealth today he would not make the list.

Calorie Care: The new tiffin service

logo_calorie_care.png One of the main attractions for me about being in India, is seeing age old businesses being recharged and revamped. One which I recently came across is the age old tiffin service. Typically you would have someone cook your lunch and then you would give it to a tiffinwala, who would then deliver your food to your desk in the office, alot has been written about this age old service.

The Calorie Care guys not only deliver your meal but cook the food for you. And the food they cook is healthy. The service actually tackles a couple of new issues arising with the new work force in India, people who can’t cook their own food since they live alone and food that is actually healthy.

Although I have not tried the service it’s definitely something to try if you are living in South Bombay and on your own.