Blackstone on Friday announced the launch of Horizon Industrial Parks, a portfolio of Indian logistics assets assembled from a series of warehouse investments by the US private equity giant in the country.
The Manhattan-based fund manager has tapped Rahul Pandit to serve as chief executive of the new platform, which is composed of assets assembled through the firm’s investments in Embassy Industrial Parks, TARC and Allcargo over the last 18 months.
“I am thrilled to work with the team at Blackstone to support its contribution to India’s ‘Atma Nirbhar’ vision, the government’s aim to make India a self-reliant and competitive global player,” Pandit said in a release. “The platform, backed by Blackstone’s global intellectual capital and scale, combined with local partnership opportunities, will potentially enable us to rapidly accelerate growth and deliver exceptional quality to our customers, while contributing to the communities we serve.”
Establishment of Horizon sets Blackstone up to redeploy in India a logistics platform playbook that it has already used successfully in the US, Europe and, just last year, in Australia where it sold the Milestone logistics portfolio to ESR in April for $2.9 billion.
Pieces Come Together
Pandit joined Blackstone in December after leading Hamstede Living, a co-living joint venture of US private equity major Warburg Pincus and Lemon Tree Hotels, the Indian hospitality chain where he previously served as an executive for 12 years.
India’s biggest warehouse landlord completed its long-anticipated acquisition of Embassy Industrial Parks from rival Warburg Pincus and Bengaluru-based developer Embassy Group for a reported $700 million last May, picking up 10.6 million square feet (984,772 square metres) of Grade A logistics and warehouse assets near major cities in India.
In September, Blackstone announced the acquisition of a North Delhi warehouse asset from local developer TARC Ltd for $40 million. The Economic Times of India had reported in August that the Embassy Industrial Parks unit would develop a 1 million square foot warehousing facility at the 36 acre (14.6 hectare) North Delhi site, which sits 60 kilometres (37.3 miles) from Delhi Airport.
In late 2020, Blackstone completed the acquisition of a 90 percent stake in Mumbai-based Allcargo’s warehouse business for INR 1,400 crore (now $186.5 million), including INR 380 crore of the US firm’s equity. Allcargo has 6 million square feet of developed logistics parks across major cities and 3 million square feet under development, the Business Standard reported.
Asheesh Mohta, head of real estate acquisitions in India for Blackstone, said the firm has built Horizon Industrial Parks into one of India’s largest and most distinguished logistics portfolios, with the firm indicating that the assets are anchored by tenants in fast-growing sectors such as e-commerce, retail, electric vehicles and logistics.
“We are excited to continue expanding our logistics presence in India’s prime urban centres, bringing our global experiences in logistics and operating expertise to build out a full-service platform with exceptional management capabilities,” Mohta said. “We are confident that the platform will thrive under the leadership of Rahul and a team of industry veterans, and its scale can have far-reaching positive impacts on tenants, employees and members of the Indian community.”
Seeking a New Milestone
With the unification of Horizon Industrial Parks, the firm founded by billionaire chairman Stephen Schwarzman seems on its way to reprising a strategy it has employed in Australia and Europe: assembling a logistics mega-portfolio with an eye towards a later exit.
Last April, Blackstone agreed to sell its Milestone Logistics portfolio in Australia to ESR Milestone Partnership, a collaborative venture of Hong Kong-listed ESR and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, for $2.9 billion after a protracted bidding contest with four other contenders.
In 2017, Blackstone scored Europe’s single largest real estate deal ever when it sold the Logicor platform to China Investment Corporation for $13.8 billion. That deal, which involved 630 distribution centres in 17 European countries, came after Blackstone had completed more than 50 transactions to acquire and tune the Logicor platform.
In India, Blackstone also owns the Nucleus Office Parks portfolio and the Nexus Malls retail platform. The firm’s global real estate business has $279 billion in investor capital under management.