IREO,a new Real Estate Company which is making waves in India’s National Capital Region (NCR) with glitzy projects has now come under the tax scanner for illegal fund inflows from tax havens of Mauritius and Cyprus.It is alleged that black money from India has been roundtripped through these tax havens in the guise of Private Equity Money.It is an open secret that Black Money from India finds its way back to India through tax havens in the form of foreign investment when it just a roughtripping of domestic money.The figure quoted is around $1.5 billion of illegal money pouring into 26 companies associated with IREO.The company came into focus during the Commonwealth Scam and is linked to an Opposition Party leader.As usual their are denials,media circus and the whole thing will end as it does all the time with Nothing Happening.

Siemens as a part of its Energy Efficinecy Efforts will go on a Green Makeover of its Office Locations in India.LED Lightining and other measures will be adopted to save Rs 3 crore in Energy Costs annually.15% of its current Energy needs will be cut by spending around $2.2 million in the next 2 years with a payback time of around 3 years.Siemens hopes to establish its Green Credentials in the Green Building Category by showcasing its inhouse efforts in Energy Efficiency.Note Energy Efficiency is the cheapest way to cut carbon emissions and is the lowest hanging fruit in mitigating Climate Change.It is perhaps the only Green Sector which does not require a subsidy to be economic.India is on a massive infrastructure building spree with $500 billion expected to be spent over the next 5 years.Green Buildings will go a long way in reducing India’s growing carbon emissions and will save money as well.

Indian Real Estate Companies have the worst reputation amongst the different sectors in India.Corruption,Irregularities,Creative Accounting,Defrauding Consumers,Tax Raids are common to these companies.In fact the financial statements of the Realty Sector are considered so untrustworthy that some Fund Mangers are loath to invest in the whole sector.Despite a Stock Market Bull Run,a line of Realty Companies have not still managed to raise money from the primary markets because of the distrust with which the general public regards them.A Truly Dubious Achievement for the Real Estate Sector in India.Note both small developers and big developers have been involved in scams and shenanigans.2 Real Estate Companies in the National Capital Region Oreo and Emaar MGF,two of the better known Realty Companies have come under the focus of Indian Investigative agencies.Emaar MGF has been trying to do an IPO for a long time without success.Now it has come under the scanner for irregularities for construction of the Commonwealth Games Village.

Prestige Estates is an Indian Real Estate Company with its operations focused in the southern part of India mainly in the techie city of Bangalore.The company is one on the long list of Realty Companies which have been waiting impatiently to raise money from the Stock Markets trying to pay off their debts.It is raising around Rs 1200 crores or $250mm .Oberoi Realty was a decent Realty Stock as far as the Sector goes which managed good subscription numbers in the last week.With “animal spirits” returning fueled by Bernanke’s Helicopter Policy expect more such shoddy Realty issues to hit the market.Note the Sector is an investor minefield with even well connected Fund Managers not trusting the financial statements published by these companies.With the Indian Stock Market already featuring a wide variety in terms of quality and quantity of Realty Stocks,Prestige Estates brings no difference and on analysis seems easy to avoid.Here are some features to this company

Summary

Prestige Estates is another low quality shady highly indebted Realty Company which should be strictly be avoided.It defies any simple analysis because of its convoluted structure and cross holdings.The Company Sales have been stagnant and Margins Low and it has high concentration risk as well.The Management inspires no confidence at all and is a typical example of the badly managed Real Estate Sector in India.Should be avoided at all costs by investors.Note 5 of the last 9 IPOs in India in the last month are giving losses to investors.This promises to be no different given the fundamentals.

In the last 4-5 years, the real estate investment community seems to have been a victim of optimism bias. This is most exemplified in the severe under estimation of time/duration required for construction/operation of project investments. For fund managers who have made investments in major parts of Asia (China, Vietnam, India, Indonesia) in the last 4-5 years, under estimation of timelines is the one area in which they all concede to have erred. The experience has shown how easy it is to fall into the optimism bias trap and start believing that once the finance is secured and the contracts awarded, things just roll on in an automode. Following are some of interesting reasons (these are all true) by which projects have gone significantly delayed

It is believed that the only section of the population that isn’t susceptible to the optimism bias are people with major depressive disorder. Probably funds should consider hiring some of them.

Organized retail industry in India is largely an oligopsonic market. (An oligopsony is a market form in which the number of buyers is small while the number of sellers in theory could be large. It contrasts with an oligopoly, where there are many buyers but just a few sellers. An oligopsony is a form of imperfect competition. One example of an oligopsony in the world economy is cocoa, where three firms (Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, and Callebaut) buy the vast majority of world cocoa bean production, mostly from small farmers in third-world countries.)

Shopping centres in India have well defined product categories. These including the multiplex, the food court, the hypermarkets, the departmental stores (loosely referred to as anchors) and then the vanilla stores. In each of the anchor product categories, there are virtually 4-5 established players that all the retailers have to go to. This gives rise to an oligopsonic market with the retailers having the relationship power balance tilted in their favour. Also, with shopping centres being capital intensive (with large amount of debts) and the retailers working on negative working capital, the cash flow pressures are that much more on the shopping centre owners than the retailers. It gives retailers much more time to play hardball in their negotiations with the shopping centre owners.