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IDFC to raise fund for affordable housing - 17 February, 2015

The alternative investment arm of IDFC plans to raise $250 million during March-April to meet the funding requirements of the affordable and mid-market housing segments in the light of the government’s housing for all plan by 2022.

A senior official close to the development said, “We are in the process of raising a $250 million fund with a tenure of eight years in the month of March and April. We believe there are strong prospects in the segment as a number of investors have shown interest in affordable housing. The demand for affordable housing is expected to grow at a phenomenal rate with government promising housing for all.”

In the real estate business, IDFC Alternatives is focussed on medium to long-term investments in office and residential segments across India.

However, the emphasis on affordable housing presents a good opportunity for the company to participate in future growth of this business as well.

“We are exploring opportunity in this space and it would depend on the projects and the enablers such as associated policies. We may even look at funding these projects through IDFC Bank in future,” Sunil Kakkar, chief financial officer of IDFC had told Financial Chronicle recently. The company got a banking license in April this year.

Ashish Joshi, chief executive officer of Landmark Capital Advisors, a Mumbai-based private equity house, believes growth of funds in the affordable housing segment would depend on real demand, as there are still too many challenges in terms of land price that constitutes more than 50 per cent of the cost. The fixed cost of raw materials and resources makes it very difficult to reduce the cost of project.

“Strong government support would be required since some preferred technological changes such as prefabricated materials have not gained traction as much as desired. Setting up affordable housing projects in nondescript areas should be convenient with all facilities otherwise it would be difficult to find buyers. At the end of the day funds are meant to provide good returns to the buyers,” said Joshi, a former managing partner who ran the real estate investments arm of Milestone Capital.

The company in October 2014 closed its $900 million India Infrastructure Fund II with strong participation from foreign institutional investors, who showed faith in India’s infrastructure growth story.

IDFC manages a corpus of $1.3 billion under three private equity funds in areas such as infrastructure service providers like telecom, airlines, shipping, transportation, tourism, clean technologies, equipment manufacturers and infrastructure commodities such as coal mining, oil and gas, E&P and enablers like EPC contractors and consultants.

The three PE funds are India Development Fund, a $192 million fund; IDFC Private Equity Fund II, a $440 million fund; and IDFC Private Equity Fund III, a $644 million fund.

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