Tata, Godrej, Adani Eye Sahara Properties

A large number of corporates, including the Tata Group, Godrej Group, Adani Group and Patanjali Ayruved, have shown interest in buying embattled Sahara group's 30 properties estimated to be worth about Rs 7,400 crore.

The properties, mostly land parcels being auctioned by real estate consultant Knight Frank India, have also generated interest from several real estate developers including Omaxe and Eldeco, as also from High Networth Individuals (HNIs) and at least one public sector firm Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., persons familiar with the process said. Besides, Chennai-based Apollo Hospitals Ltd. has shown interest in acquiring Sahara Hospital in Lucknow.

Sahara is in a hurry to sell these properties to get the money it needs to deposit with the market regulator Securities And Exchange Board of India (SEBI), as per the Supreme Court guidelines, said a person familiar with the developments.

All prospective buyers are asking for 2-3 months for due diligence, which is considered to be normal period of time in the high-value real estate transactions, added the same person quoted above.

When contacted, a Sahara group spokesperson declined to disclose the names of prospective buyers, saying "deals are in process and will materialise soon". He also said, the details have been submitted to the Supreme Court.

Pirojsha Godrej, Executive Chairman, Godrej Properties We are looking at part of one of the Pune land parcels for which Knight Frank is running the bidding process. It is still at a preliminary stage.

Omaxe Ltd.'s Chairman and Managing Director, Rohtas Goel also confirmed that his company was interested in some properties. "As a prudent business organisation, we always keep exploring growth opportunities," he said.

Eldeco's managing director, Pankaj Bajaj said, they are interested in some properties but would not be like to share the exact details at this stage.

An Apollo Hospitals spokesperson said, "The Apollo has submitted an expression of interest for Sahara Hospital and (we) are conducting our evaluation and due diligence process." Tata Housing Ltd. declined to comment, while there were no replies to specific queries made to Adani Group, Knight Frank and Patanjali.

Sources said there, were a large number of individuals as also some educational institutions who have submitted expressions of interest for the properties. The shortlisted entities are now being asked to submit their financial bids.

The group is expecting to get the first installment from the sale of these properties by June 17 and get all the money, estimated at around Rs 7,400 crore, in three months.

The Supreme Court has already ordered the sale of Sahara’s Aamby Valley township near Lonavala. The Sahara Group had estimated the entire property to be worth over Rs 1 lakh crore, but the apex court has now asked the Bombay High Court’s official liquidator will now conduct an independent evaluation.

The Sahara spokesperson said, the group had committed to deposit the directed amount of Rs 10,500 crore by July-August 2017, including Rs 7,400 crore from sale of the 30 properties being auctioned and payments from other deals, but the court declined and asked for the Aamby Valley auction which will take much longer.

"We committed around Rs 1,500 crore from overseas hotels, expected to reach India within 45 days. We also informed about the Vasai land where we are going to get around Rs 800 crore. We may also get around Rs 800 crore from the Ghaziabad property," he added.

On February 28, the Supreme Court had allowed Sahara to sell certain properties after SEBI found it difficult to auction them even with the help of specialised agencies. Sahara sought six months' time for the sale, but the court asked them to complete the sale in six months for properties worth about Rs 5,092 crore.

Sahara subsequently appointed Knight Frank for carrying out the sale process and advertisements were issued in newspapers twice to invite prospective buyers.

Knight Frank was asked to complete the sale by April 13, to meet the Supreme Court deadline. It was found to be difficult because of the time demanded by the prospective buyers for going through various stages of such high value transactions to ensure optimal value realisation.

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