New Delhi, March 26, 2005
The Financiale Express
The Sobha Group, which has constructed a number of
commercial as well as residential projects for companies
like Infosys, Wipro, ICICI Bank and Satyam, among
others, is now aiming to take its business to new
heights. The Rs 1,000-crore group, founded by a Gulf-returned
non-resident Indian PNC Menon over a decade ago, is
aiming to add another Rs 2,000 crore
in allied business turnover by 2008.
Speaking to FE, Sobha Group chairman Mr Menon said
the company is now making a foray into retail, with
Sobha Global Mall in the city. Said to be the first-of-its-kind
shopping and entertainment mall in South India, the
17 acre mall will have exclusive features such as
an ice skating ring, trading centres and will also
house Sobhas hotel venture.
We are diversifying, Mr Menon
said, We have finalised details on three
hotel and resort projects, two in Bangalore and one
in Kochi. We are also planning to start a garment
business, leveraging our brand value. The pilot will
be ready in Bangalore during the next 12 months,
Sobha will also set up its first home store in the
city as part of the Global mall which will be operational
Sobha, accordng to Mr Menon, is the only fully backward
integrated real estate developer in the world. We
have the biggest wood working factory , we also build
our own concrete elements, tiles etc. We are now also
looking at manufacturing ceramics and sanitary ware,
he said. The company has set up its woodworking and
metal glazing factory in Bommasandra, near Bangalore.
Backward integration gives the company an upper hand
in quality, as it enables it to regulate raw materials,
Mr Menon said. It also helps the company to raise
its work to international standards.
The company built 8 million sqft of space including
4.5 million sqft on contract basis this year, Mr Menon
said. We build around 1,500 to 2,000 apartments
in Bangalore every year. With middle-class income
booming, this could go up, given that aspirations
and comfort levels of consumers are also rising.
Offering a solution for congestion in Bangalore city,
Mr Menon suggests that a consortium of real estate
players could build a fully integrated and self-contained
city nearly 30 km from the city.
Satellite cities that are affordable
to live in is the solution for taking real estate
pressure away from the metro. With the way the real
estate sector is opening up in India, a lot of foreign
players are sure to come. A number of companies have
talked to us too, he said.
The Sobha group has eight companies under its umbrella
including Sobha Glazing and Metal Works Pvt Ltd, Sobha
Projects and Trade Pvt Ltd and Sobha Renaissance Information
Technology Pvt Ltd, among others.