Dutch pension fund APG is finding it difficult to find a buyer for its stake in Virtuous Retail South Asia, a joint venture with the Xander Group, which owns several malls in India, according to sources.
Sources indicated that APG has been selling its stake to Xander, which is likely owning a majority stake now, though it was not clear how much. In 2016 when the JV was formed, APG had the major stake at over 70 per cent.
In response to an e-mail from businessline seeking clarification, a spokesman for APG said that it would not comment, while Xander Group did not respond at all.
APG announced the JV with Xander Group, which has investments of over $6 billion in India, in 2016 with an investment of $450 million, with the Dutch pension manager bringing in the lion’s share. A year later, APG infused another $175 million into the venture to buy more malls.
Exit taking time
The asset manager, which has several investments in India in real estate and other sectors worth billions of dollars, has been trying to exit the venture for a while now at a valuation of around $1 billion, and sources said it was taking time.
APG is one of the largest pension investors in the world with assets under management of €521 billion and it has given average absolute return of 5.1 per cent for the past 15 years, according to its website.
Virtuous Retail has six malls located in Chennai, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Surat, Amritsar, and Nagpur. It has a significant stake in North Delhi Metro Mall through a subsidiary and a year before the pandemic struck it acquired a 20-acre land parcel in Thane from Gautam Singhania-promoted Raymond Ltd. It is setting up a mixed-use retail development there, while another shopping centre is set to come up in Bengaluru.