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With cash after Holcim, Neotias make pan-India realty foray

The Neotias, co-promoters of Gujarat Ambuja Cement Ltd, is expanding their real estate business acquiring an India wide footprint, reports Suman Layak.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2007 18:36 IST

The Neotias, co-promoters of Gujarat Ambuja Cement Ltd, are expanding their real estate business by acquiring an India-wide footprint and are also entering the hotel and healthcare sectors.The group had struck a lucrative deal with Swiss cement maker Holcim to hive off stakes in their cement business.

Harshvardhan Neotia, the chairman of Ambuja Realty Development Ltd, told Hindustan Times “Our real estate activity was restricted to West Bengal. However, after the Holcim-Gujarat Ambuja Cements deal we have decided to invest in this business and expand across the country.”

The group has also formed a joint venture with an Israeli healthcare company, Elbit Imaging Ltd, to build a hospital in Kolkata. The plan is to subsequently expand it into a chain.

The Sekhsaria-Neotia, combine who were the promoters of Gujarat Ambuja Cements Ltd, had sold out major portion of their stake in the cement business, besides handing over management control to Holcim.

Neotia said that apart from realty expansion and health care the group is also building two hotels in Kolkata and Siliguri. “We want to manage these hotels and not just own the property. We are talking about the branding and might become a franchisee.” The group had built its first hotel at Raichak, near Haldia. Neotia said “Since we were not focussed on this business, we did not build a land bank like other realty companies. We are starting on that path now.”

The company has moved to Punjab, Chhatisgarh and Maharashtra with new projects. “We are going to places where we had a presence due to our cement business,” Neotia said.

The company has acquired land in Punjab as well as in Raipur. The company has also formed a joint venture to build an information technology park in Nagpur along with Bangalore-based RMZ group. It is part of the Nagpur Airport Special Economic Zone.

“Residential townships, malls and information technology parks are the three areas where we have expertise right now," Neotia said. “In five years all these new projects will earn revenues of total Rs 5,000 crore with the annual revenue towards the end reaching Rs 1,500 crore.”

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First Published: Jan 30, 2007 18:00 IST