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India’s rich grab Australian assets

Reuters  Sydney, October 03, 2012
First Published: 23:56 IST(3/10/2012) | Last Updated: 01:44 IST(4/10/2012)

India’s wealthy are quietly snapping up hotels and mines Down Under just as Australia embarks on an immigration campaign to attract long-term investment.


The Jindal family in May bought two minor stakes, worth a total of AUD26 million ($26.99 million), in Australian iron ore and coal mines through Jindal Steel & Power. That followed a $2 billion purchase by Gautam Adani of a coal mine in Queensland last year.

Silverneedle Hospitality, a company backed by Nadathur S Raghavan, a philanthropist and co-founder of Infosys, just bought a hotel in Brisbane for AUD57 million. Last year, it bought a chain of about 60 hotels in Australia and New Zealand for an undisclosed sum.

“In the last six to nine months, there has been a lot of private investment into Australia,” said Paul Dowling, principal analyst at banking research firm East & Partners.

While Indian nationals have traditionally favoured Britain and North America as offshore investment destinations, private wealth bankers have noticed a growing demand for Australian real estate, particularly hotels and serviced apartments.

Also underpinning demand is Australia’s relatively strong economic performance compared with Western peers.

Indeed, Australia is one among a select club of only eight nations that can still boast a pristine triple A rating with a stable outlook.

This year, Australia will overtake Spain as the world’s 12th largest economy, despite being 52nd in terms of population. This explains the massive increase in Australia’s foreign direct investment which leapt to AUD67 billion in 2012, nearly double the previous year.

The new Australian visas will target individuals who invest at least AUD5 million in certain assets, such as infrastructure government bonds, in return for concessions on the usual migration requirements including qualifications and English skills.

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