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Rediff.com  » Business » No matter what, we will not give discounts to boost sales: Jeh Wadia

No matter what, we will not give discounts to boost sales: Jeh Wadia

March 13, 2012 11:14 IST

Bombay Realty, a unit of the Wadia group, recently launched a residential project in Mumbai. The company is looking at more projects in Mumbai and Bangalore. Managing Director Jeh Wadia talks about the company's strategy.

Why have you launched projects when the Mumbai property market is in bad shape?

There are different types of buyers. There are buyers for the Nano, Maruti, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Bentley, Ferrari and so on. We are targeting the premium end, who buy Mercedes-Benz and Bentley, and there is a shortage of supply in that segment. We have not seen any slowing in our sales. Three per cent of walk-ins are converted into sales, as against the international standard of two per cent. We are not focused on profits or cash flows.

What will be the main differentiation in your projects?

The prices at which we sell today will never be cheaper tomorrow. Buyers will definitely get higher prices. We are not like developers who launch projects at Rs 50 and take it up to Rs 100 and again take it down to Rs 50 when the product does not sell.

No matter what, we will not discount to get sales. Because of mixed use development, we do not need to discount. Second, we are the only realtor in Mumbai to provide a gated community in the island city. We have 45 acres in Dadar and 25 acres in Worli where we are doing it.

Will you remain a Mumbai-focused developer, since real estate is local play?

No, we will be an all-India developer. We will start with Mumbai, which has the highest land values, highest residential and commercial values. We will focus on the island city first and progress to Malad, where we have between 300 and 500 acres, and then to Thane, where we have 100 acres. Totally, the Wadia Group has 10,000 acres in the country.

When will you launch the Bangalore project where you are in a joint venture with Britannia?

It is in a conceptualisation stage. Once that is over, we will announce it.

What are your plans for the next financial year?

We will open a luxury high street in Wadia International Centre at Worli and commence construction of a five-star hotel and retail high street in Island City Centre, Dadar.

Will you stick to the premium end of the market?

No. In the island city, we will do only luxury. In Malad, it will be SEC-B (SEC standing for Socio-Economic Classification and A and B being the 'high' income group); in Thane, it will be lower than SEC-B, and in Bangalore, it will be SEC-A. We will be at multiple price points.

Will you use Bombay Realty to lift the fortunes of Bombay Dyeing, which has been making losses for some quarters?

Bombay Dyeing has three verticals¬óchemicals, retail and textiles, and real estate. Bombay Dyeing is a textile brand, reinventing itself into a retail brand. We will increase the 300 outlets to 500 over a period of time. In home textiles, we are getting into other home fixtures. We will also get into the 'you' category (clothing and apparel) in the coming months. We will make announcements to this effect early next fiscal. Basically, all are stand-alone verticals which work on an arm's length basis. All will be profitable and leverage on the assets they have.

There is a perception that Bombay Realty is largely a one-man show. The attrition at the top level is very high. Your comments?

It is a professional organisation of 100 people.  I am the managing director and spokesperson of the company. I believe in a result-oriented team and when you come to work, it is not a holiday.

Real estate is always perceived to have political interference, corruption and shady dealings. What will be your approach?

With the new development control rules, there will be no personal concessions left. The rules are very clear on how much you have to pay for FSI (floor space index) and how much you can build. We expect the approval time to come down from two years to 90 days.

Image: Jeh Wadia

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Raghavendra Kamath in Mumbai