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Anil Ambani Seeks to Sell or Lease Out Mumbai HQ

July 01, 2019 06:23 AM


Anil Ambani Seeks to Sell or Lease Out Mumbai HQ
Santacruz centre may fetch ₹1,500-2,000 cr; site caught up in legal tangle
tangle, they said.

Ambani plans to move back to his Ballard Estate office in south Mumbai, they said. The 700,000 sq ft Reliance Centre in Santacruz could fetch as much as ₹1,500-2,000 crore.

“Anil Ambani is looking for outright sale of the property or could give it on a long-term lease — both options are on the table,” said one of the persons. The Reliance Group “is looking to monetise its real estate as it aims to generate cash to pay off debt obligations after rating firms cut the creditworthiness of various group companies”.

It may appoint property consultant JLL to advise on the deal, sources told ET.

A Reliance Group spokesperson confirmed it was looking to monetise real estate assets.

Case Pending Before Aptel

These include the headquarters owned by Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra). However, the spokesperson declined to give details. Blackstone declined to comment while JLL could not be reached immediately.

Ambani had told ET recently that Reliance Capital, which has debt of ₹18,000 crore, is following the “death of debt” mantra. The group plans to reduce debt by 50% this financial year through stake sales.

“While an outright sale will generate windfall cash, a long-term lease should help the group to raise money quickly through multiple lease agreements,” said an executive. “Plans are afoot to make the group debt free in the next one year.”

The site has a leasable area of 600,000 sq ft with a floor space index (FSI) potential of 1.12 million sq ft.

The issue is clouded by a legal wrangle, however. The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), after it had cleared Adani Transmission’s purchase of Reliance Infra’s retail electricity distribution in 2017, ruled that since the Santacruz headquarters was kept out of the deal between Reliance and Adani, the latter could not seek concessions to build office space as similar leeway had already been granted to R-Infra, people in the know told ET.

Besides, a group of consumers has approached the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (Aptel) with the argument that the land needs to be transferred to Adani Transmission or users should get a concession on their bills equivalent to the proceeds of the sale of about ₹2,000 crore. The case is pending before Aptel.

“This could be a big legal hurdle for Ambani to sell the Santacruz property,” said a person in the know. “If the electricity tribunal rules that the building belongs to the consumers as it was paid for by the concessions transferred to them by way of tariffs, then Ambani could lose the property.”

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